Current guidelines for sun exposure are unhealthy and unscientific, controversial new research suggests. How did we get it so wrong? Landmark study puts sunscreen 🧴 in the crosshairs: “Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor of a similar magnitude as smoking, in terms of life expectancy.”
“It’s entirely intuitive,” Weeler responded. “Homo sapiens have been around for 200,000 years. Until the industrial revolution, we lived outside. How did we get through the Neolithic Era without sunscreen? Actually, perfectly well. What’s counterintuitive is that dermatologists run around saying, ‘Don’t go outside, you might die.’”
Misled into believing that sunscreen can prevent their melanomas, which Weller finds exasperating. “The cosmetic industry is now trying to push sunscreen at dark-skinned people,” he says. “At dermatology meetings, you get people standing up and saying, ‘We have to adapt products for this market.’ Well, no we don’t. This is a marketing ploy.”
Ultimately, it’s your call. Each person’s needs vary so much with season, latitude, skin color, personal history, philosophy, and so much else that it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all recommendation. The Dminder app, which uses factors such as age, weight, and amount of exposed skin to track the amount of sunlight you need for vitamin D production, might be one place to start. Trading your sunscreen for a shirt and a broad-brimmed hat is another. Both have superior safety records.
I’ve made my choice. A world of healthy outdoor adventure beckons—if not half naked, then reasonably close. Starting today, I’m stepping into the light.