Wearing sunscreen may actually increase your chances of cancer.

Talk about irony. New studies seem to indicate that people who wear sunscreen may actually be increasing their risk of contracting skin cancer. Why? A false sense of safety possibly combined with unforeseen chemical reactions.

BBC News | Health | Sunscreen ‘increases cancer risk’

Wearing sunscreen makes people stay in the sun too long – and could release cancer-causing substances into the body, according to specialists.

A study, published in the US Journal of the National Cancer Institute, said that people who wore higher factor sunscreens tended to stay out much longer, because they felt protected from the risk of sunburn.

And a British biochemist has suggested that the cocktail of chemicals involved in sunscreens could be converted into “free radical” molecules, which could cause cell damage and lead to cancer.

The US study, revealed on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, appears to demonstrate why incidence of skin cancer has increased, even though sunscreens have become popular among fair-skinned people.

Naturally this is causing a bit of an uproar among sunscreen advocates and the folks involved do admit that wearing sunscreen is still better than going unprotected. Still, the best advice seems to be to cover up and moderate your exposure to the sun.

Personally, I don’t wear sunscreen often unless I’m spending the day outdoors someplace like the beach or Cedar Point. I’m not much of an outdoors-type anyway, though I do have a wicked driver’s tan on my left arm.

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