So many of our regular customers have asked us about sunscreen we thought we should explain why we do not have a sunscreen in our product range at the moment.
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. In the United Kingdom, men's skin cancer rates have doubled in the last 30 years. In the late 70's in England, only 400 men died each year from melanoma, but now 1100 men die each year. (Link to Cancer Research UK here). . There are many possible explanations including increased packaged holidays etc. But with sunscreen being the fastest growing segment of the skin care market for a number of years pushed by a safe sun safe message, people should be aware that sunscreen alone won't prevent all skin cancer.
The two largest sunscreens studies ever done in Australia both show that even every day sunscreen usage made no difference to Basal Cell Carcinoma, but did reduce the rate of Squamous Cell Carcinoma by around 50%. (references at bottom of page). Other studies have found no reduction in skin cancer using sunscreen (references also at the bottom of the page). This means there is a very good chance of developing some sort of skin carcinoma even after using sunscreen every single day. Staying out of the peak sun is more important in our opinion. Sunscreen is certainly advisable when there is a need to go out into the peak sun for a period of time, although a big hat is probably even more important. It is well accepted that a person's genes are one of the major risk factors for skin cancer, especially fair skin or red haired people. Many sunscreens (not all) use a variety of chemicals that are not acceptable to those that believe in natural skin care products.
Money is made selling sunscreen, not in not selling sunscreen. As we do not sell sunscreen at all, we are not biased in any way and so this page aims to summarize the state of research into sunscreens, as sometimes it can be difficult to find.
We will provide some links to the pro-sunscreen camps, and the anti-chemical sunscreen camps at the bottom of this page. Most researchers have the health of people as their priority and we do not wish to be critical of their work, however skin cancer is a very complicated topic that is not fully understood.
There is no doubt that avoiding sun damage keeps the skin healthier and younger looking. However, in our opinion, avoiding excessive direct sun exposure is healthier than applying sunscreen chemicals each day. When going into direct sunlight without protection, we personally wear a certain class of sunscreen (Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide) but not at other times.
The Three Types of Sunscreens:
- Compounds that absorb ultraviolet light. These are chemicals such as oxybenzone in a Paraffin Oil base. These are the traditional "non-greasy" sunscreens. The risks of these chemicals are well established in studies such as the one below:
"Recent research at the University of California Riverside indicates that sunscreen needs to be reapplied within 2 hours in order to remain effective. Not reapplying could cause even more cell damage than not using sunscreen at all, due to the release of extra free radicals from those sunscreen chemicals which were absorbed into the skin.
(Kerry M. Hanson, Enrico Gratton and Christopher J. Bardeen (2006). "Sunscreen enhancement of UV-induced reactive oxygen species in the skin". Free Radical Biology and Medicine 11: 1205.
- UV Blocking Ingredients. These block the UV rays and are usually used in the "natural" sunscreens. Typically Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide are used. Both of these ingredients are very safe (Titanium Dioxide is even used in your toothpaste and chewing gum). However they do leave that "pasty white look" unless very small particle sizes are used. Micronised sized particles (above 100 nanomenters in size) would be our preferred sunscreen additive, provided there was a good balance between UVA and UVB protection
- Nano Particles. Nano-Particles of Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. These are the same "UV blocking ingredients", as above, but ground down to a very fine size so they don't give the white and pasty look. Although these ingredients are very safe in normal form, there are some concerns that their very small size may penetrate cell walls and do damage. At the moment, the research is not conclusive. Manufacturers of nano-particle sunscreen argue that nano-particles do not pass through the outer dead layers of skin (the Stratum corneum), and so can not enter living skins cells. Other research groups are not so sure. To read more about the conflicting results from nano-particle research click here to be taken to the Nanowerk discussion pages.
These vary throughout the world. Some countries have a SPF rating which really only measures UV B protection. Others argue that reducing UV B, without reducing UV A, might increase the risk of skin damage. There is no standard for the term "broad spectrum". This is a complex area, a simplified version can be read through Wikepedia here.
Conclusion: We personally prefer not to use sunscreen chemicals on an every-day basis.
We only use UV blocking sunscreen when going into direct sunlight. That is, Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide, not in nano-particle form. Although these are white and pasty looking, these are proven to be very safe. At the moment, the conflicting research about nano-particle safety prevents us from being confident adding these to any MooGoo product just yet.
All MooGoo products were originally made for our own use and so we will not release a product that we would not often use ourselves.
We also believe that Australian labelling regulations should require nano-particles to be disclosed on ingredient labels so consumers can choose to use or not use these products.
Some "Pro" Sun Screen Links.
Nambour Study: This is a good independent study. Results however were not as positive as the sunscreen campaigners might have hoped. But it did show some benefits to a typical sunscreen. The "Nambour Study" found a 40% decrease in squamous cell carcinoma incidence on outdoor workers who used a sunscreen regularly. No change in basal cell carcinomas. It also says "currently, there is no such evidence to answer the question of the relationship between sunscreen use and the incidence of cutaneous melanoma." Click here for full report.
A media report on a 2010 follow up study which found that daily sunscreen use reduced squamous cell carcinoma by around 50% but no change in Basal Cell Carcinoma. This study is controversial. See comments below article. Source here.
Cancer Council WA discussing the myth of sunscreen risks: Click here for their view.
"Links that Question Sunscreen Effectiveness."
(This is information that is not promoted as much).
An ABC News (Australia) Item that explains how researchers are looking for a better sunscreen as "many types of sunscreen do little more than prevent burning in some skin types". Click here if you would like to see the video.
"Results from a collaborative European case-control study and one animal study, however, suggest that sunscreens that protect against sunburn may not protect against UV radiation-associated cutaneous melanoma." Source: National Cancer Institute Statement.
" A different Australian randomized study, however, showed that after 4.5 years of follow-up, there was no significant difference in incidence of squamous cell carcinomas after regular sunscreen use. Although a post hoc subgroup analysis showed a reduction in the frequency of carcinomas on the sites of daily sunscreen application, the validity of that finding is questionable because of the possible effects of multiple testing. An 8-year post-trial observational follow-up demonstrated statistically significant reductions in both the frequency and the overall incidence of squamous cell carcinomas in the regular sunscreen-use arm, but the reliability of these findings is uncertain given their occurrence outside of the controlled-trial environment. Source: National Cancer Institute.
A Swedish study of 1040 people (400 with Melanoma and 640 without) found sunscreen use seemed to be associated with increased melanoma. "The use of sunscreens was not found to protect against developing malignant melanoma. Instead, an unexpected relation between the use of sunscreens and the risk of developing malignant melanoma was seen (odds ratio (OR) 1.8 for almost always vs never using sunscreens). A tentative dose-response relation was found." Source here.
Friends of the Earth arguing the risks of nano-particle use in sunscreen, and asking for a requirement to have nano-particles labelled when used in sunscreen. Click here for their argument.
Note: This page aims to provide a very simple and short overview of sunscreen for the average person. It quotes studies others have done. We do not sell sunscreen at the moment and so are not biased in any direction. We wear sunscreen when going into direct sunlight such as the beach. If you have another viewpoint or think we are being unbalanced we would like to hear it. Please email us here to share your view.