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US Melanoma Rate Is Rising, Study Finds

Despite deliberate sun avoidance and a near obsession with the use of sunscreens, more Americans than ever are developing melanoma, a form of skin cancer that can be deadly, Tuscson.com reports. A record 76,380 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2016, the newspaper said.

I’m sure the findings will have everyone scurrying to buy even more block-the-sun products — a move that not only won’t prevent skin cancer, but has shown in some instances to actually cause it. In truth, in a study comparing the daily application of sunscreen with the occasional use of sunscreen over a period of 4.5 years, there was NO difference between the numbers of people who developed skin cancer in the daily or occasional sunscreen groups.

While I certainly don't recommend spending so much time in the sun that your skin gets burned, the one-size-fits-all recommendation from public health officials to apply sunscreen daily may be causing more harm than good. Close to 16 percent of U.S. sunscreens contain vitamin A. But FDA studies show that retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, has been found to PROMOTE skin tumors and lesions when applied topically and exposed to sunlight.

Some sunscreens also use chemicals that may increase your risk of skin cancer and may contain hormone disrupters. Your best sun protection comes from hats, sunglasses and clothing.

If you must wear it, your safest and best choice for sunscreen protection is zinc oxide. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find a product without chemically based sunscreen filters. To help you choose the product best for your family, EWG performs an annual sunscreen evaluation based on effectiveness and safety.