News & Press

Sun Safety Is More Than Sunscreen

-A statement from Timothy Turnham, executive director, Melanoma Research Foundation-

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J.—The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) released the following statement by Timothy Turnham, executive director of the MRF, about the recent report about sunscreen released by the Environmental Working Group.

There is clear, scientific evidence linking exposure to natural and artificial ultraviolet rays (UV) to all types of skin cancer, including melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer.  That is why it is critical for consumers to remain vigilant about protecting themselves from UV exposure.

While the Environmental Working Group’s recent report highlights some interesting research about vitamin A and oxybenzone, it is far from a definitive conclusion.  In fact, a broader look at existing research indicates that there is no clear evidence about the risks or benefits of vitamin A in sunscreens.  While some research in mice has shown a harmful effect, research on mice does not always translate to humans, and other existing research on Vitamin A has shown no ill effect.  For example, vitamin A is used to treat patients with acne, and there is no documented increase in risk of cancer in these patients.  There is divided evidence on the potential harms of oxybenzone, and damaging effect has not been proven. 

In short, much more research with clear, consistent results is needed.

What we do know is that sunscreen is effective in shielding the skin from UV rays, and it is an important component of sun safety.  This report isn’t a reason to stop using sunscreen.  But it does remind us that sunscreen is not a blank check for spending unlimited time in the sun.  In addition to using adequate quantities of sunscreen and reapplying it every two hours, it is important to wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.

For more information about sun safety practices, https://melanoma.org/learn-more/melanoma-101/prevention-sun-safety.


About Melanoma

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States and can strike men and women of all ages, all races and skin types. In fact, with a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, nearly 69,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2009, resulting in 8,650 deaths or one person every hour. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25- to 29-years-old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15- to 29-years-old.

About Melanoma Research Foundation

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma. The MRF is an active advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF’s website is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at www.melanoma.org.