Sunscreens. Part 2


This article will discuss the positive and negative aspects of solar exposure to the skin.

Skin cancer is the saddest consequence of prolonged sun exposure. But not all solar exposure is harmful, in general, spending some time under the sun is necessary for our body. A beneficial effect of UV on the skin is the production of vitamin D, the lack of which in childhood leads to a violation of the formation of the skeleton and the development of rickets. This is due to the fact that vitamin D is needed for the body to utilize calcium, which is an important component of bone tissue. In adults, vitamin D is involved in maintaining healthy bones, preventing the development of depression, and plays an important role in the normal functioning of the heart. Therefore, sunbathing for a few minutes every day is very beneficial, and, as research by Michael Holik, who works at Boston University, Massachusetts, shows, the sun’s rays can prevent the development of such forms of malignant tumors as colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and All this is due to the increase in the level of vitamin D in the body.

Although we can include vitamin D in our diet and get it from outside, the vitamin D that is formed by sun exposure remains in the body longer, it is also possible that the sun induces the formation of some other beneficial molecules in the skin.

More than half a million people develop some form of skin cancer each year in the United States, and the American Cancer Society has stated that one in six people will experience skin cancer in one way or another. The most common form is basal cell carcinoma, which looks like a dense red patch rising above the surface of the skin, most often this type of tumor develops in open areas such as the face, hands, and neck. The second most common is squamous cell skin cancer, usually it appears on the lips, ears and hands in the form of a dense bump. Neither basal cell nor squamous cell skin cancer threatens the patient’s life, since these forms of tumors do not metastasize and are relatively easy to surgical treatment.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said about the third form of skin cancer, melanoma, which is an extremely malignant and rapidly metastasizing tumor. Often, melanoma develops from a mole that grows rapidly and becomes dark blue in color. Fortunately, melanoma is a fairly rare tumor. But despite this, about 6,000 Americans and about the same number of Europeans die from it every year, which means that in a city of one hundred thousand people, one or two new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed each year, while other forms of skin cancer will develop. approximately 65 people per year.

But is UVB the culprit in skin cancer? Perhaps not. Now it has been found out that in most cases melanoma develops in people with a hereditary predisposition, which is determined by inherited genetic mutations. This may explain why melanoma rarely occurs on skin exposed to sunlight. The genetic defect leading to the development of melanoma was discovered in 2002 by Richard Wooster and his collaborators working in Cambridge. A few years earlier, Marianne Berwick of the New York Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center suggested that solar radiation had no effect on melanoma. She analyzed the results of a large number of epidemiological studies that examined the relationship between the use of physical sunscreens and the development of melanoma, and concluded that for these substances there is no strong evidence of their protective effect. But, despite this, chemical filters, which have a variety of mechanisms of action, reliably prevent the occurrence of other forms of skin cancer. So it’s no surprise that over $1 billion worth of sunscreen products are sold each year.

Sunscreens. Part 1

Sunscreens. Part 3

Source: based on materials from John Emsley’s book «On the benefits and harms of the products we love to buy»

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