Diving into the anti-sunscreen movement

Too much fun in the sun leads to malignant melanoma, which is very much not fun, nor is it fun when it metastasizes and turns into other forms of cancer.

More grifters preying on Darwin Award contestants. Despicable, sad, and unnecessary.


I’m not sure that there was ever really an ideal time in our history when the public uncritically listened to what doctors and scientists had to say. (And not everything that all doctors or scientists said back then was correct, either. There were plenty of corporate sell-outs then, as now.



In case I wasn’t clear, I was rebutting the idiots who were making an evolutionary argument to stay out in the sun without sunscreen. I was saying that’s stupid because evolution didn’t select for making it much past 50. Obviously we do, which is why the argument is dumb.

Not sure if your just trying to take the worst possible interpretation of my post, but probably I didn’t write it well… Or I’m misinterpreting your comments and gifs…


You were NOT.

It very much sounded like you were saying that it’s “too bad” if anyone here has had someone they care about die or become disfigured; especially since your comment came after two members posted personal anecdotes saying as much.

If that’s not what you meant, then perhaps take better care to make your points more clearly; writing longs screeds in no way insures that you will be understood by the people reading your commentary.


Same here, mostly.

My only concern with sunscreen was a study I saw years ago that implied use of sunscreen increased melanoma risk (a theory was wearing sunscreen only meant people would stay in the sun even more, increasing their risk). I think that study was later dismissed, but now I mostly just stay out of the sun. If I’m at the beach I’ll use sunscreen but I’ll still avoid the sun with an umbrella and long sleeves when I’m not in the water.

Typicaly by September I will have a “trucker’s tan” on my left arm anyway.


Physical barriers will always be more effective than chemical ones. Shirts, hats, umbrellas, etc. My take on that “sunscreen leads to melanoma” study was that people will put it on once and assume they are protected all day. Because people tend to be dumb.

will smith film GIF


For those who don’t have the PubPeer plugin

AFAIK: it seems a bit weird that the difference is between sunbathing and exposing your skin directly versus hiding from the sun. I imagine there’s some Vitamin D benefits to going out, staying mostly in the shade, and reasonable sunscreen use to prevent sunburns.

I’d imagine that anything that keeps you from sunburning but gets you mild exposure probably offsets both risks passing well.


I have to thank my mom for starting us on sunscreen early. She got one bad burn when she was pregnant with me, and has been on guard ever since with hats, sunscreen and long light clothing. Both of her parents had to have a lot of cancerous spots removed, grandma ended up losing a lot of her nose to it, probably because of years of intentionally tanning.


They do sell sunscreens that are reef safe. That’s all they sell in Hawaii.



The comments on the article you linked to introduced me to the term “Depigmented” to describe white people. It’s…pretty great. I’m strongly considering updating my use of “White, cis male” to “Cis, male depigs.”


I guess that has less chance of misinterpretation than “pigmentally challenged”…


Certainly and I fully support research on this, and if it really is a problem in some cases, they should do something about it. Just saying they were really pushing this a few years ago, and the major fact of all this is, 99% of the time people should be wearing sun screen is when you’re not going in the water. It’s just every day wear. Scaring people about coral reefs, when they really should be putting it on before heading to the bus stop or the day hiking, is really terrible. I wear sun screen every single day, it’s been years since I wore it while swimming.

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Coincidentally, or not (spring is here fully, and summer’s coming up fast), the Finnish national broadcaster YLE had an article on the 'net about skin cancer and the importance of sunscreen. And of course, there popped up a couple of anti-sunscreen loons in the comments, the first time I’ve seen them in the wild, so to speak.

One of them demanded anyone to share even one scientific paper showing that too much sun causes skin cancer, and claimed she’d never seen any. Naturally, someone dropped a link to a major meta-analytical article on just that in a reply to her. Upon which she claimed that all the articles referred to there were biased and long ago debunked, and started blathering incoherently about redox potential and how artificial light is supposed to harm us somehow.

The other one seems to be a believer in electromagnetic hypersensitivity, which is an interesting combination with the idea that more sunlight is always better. Since, of course, you soak up more and shorter-wavelength EMR by standing a minute in the sun than if you sat on a Wi-fi box for a week…


You know … I sincerely wish people wouldn’t think of evolution as “selecting” for desired traits for survival among the living and instead thought of the environment selecting against life persistently via death and the resulting chaos as the unintended consequences.

(I’m not saying you said this, i just mean generally)

It would make discussions about evolution sound less like arguments for genocide and acknowledge the lack of godly hands or intentionality.

In reality… Some people have to be exposed to intense sunlight for some reason or another. They should use sunscreen and/or physical covering to protect their skin from being burned and people who lie to them about that are assholes.


That’s a good way to phrase it. There is an ongoing theme in sci-fi shorts of Earth as a deathworld, and the other critters in the universe astounded that anything could reach sapience on such a rock. There may be something to that.


not everything environmental factor is going to be a significant selective pressure, especially not for humans. ( ex. people wear clothes for more than just style. meanwhile most of our genetic relatives are covered in hair. )

and simply the fact we exist and that evolution has shaped us does not mean it’s healthy to play naked in the snow, or lay out under the broiling sun - at any age

that was the idea i was reacting to, even if, admittedly, i was completely unclear


Oh yeah, totally, I think we’re in agreement.

My general point was that people love to make evolutionary arguments for all sorts of terrible ideas, whether about health or morals or society or whatever, and most of the time it’s completely wrong, because even when their science is right (which is rare), the chaotic jumble of selecting for death (thanks @TornPaperNapkin) isn’t remotely omniscient or benevolent, and makes no claims as to health or morals.


Don’t forget the set-up: he rolls up his sleeve and says “Look at that! Blue! It takes me two weeks in the sun to turn white!”

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This is a good summary of the issue by a company doing research into effects of sunscreen on the skin and body.

There’s a variety of chemicals used for sunscreen, some of them have potential to cause DNA damage or be absorbed into the body. More research is needed. However, UV from the Sun causes DNA damage without question, so more information is needed as to what are the relative risks.

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