Don’t let Aaron Rodgers convince you not to use sunscreen

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Not content to have spread misinformation about the COVID vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the therapeutic effects of the sounds of dolphin sex, and “the softening” of society, Rodgers, a man who took courses in “American Studies” at Cal Berkeley, where he did not graduate with a degree in anything relating to science or medicine (and in fact, did not graduate at all), Rodgers has now “liked” a tweet on X extolling the evil effects of sunscreen.

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It’s funny how Rodgers seems not to believe in Western medical advice unless it can help him get back on the field in time for the playoffs, which the Jets are definitely not making this year. I wonder how many Pfizer products his medical team used in his Achilles surgery?

Anyway, Rodgers caused yet another stir on the interwebs this morning which, I’ve become increasingly convinced, is his favorite thing to do, by “liking” a tweet from former offensive tackle Rusell Okung, where he described a “proud” moment of explaining to his child why “other people” use sunscreen.

Image for article titled Don’t let Aaron Rodgers convince you not to use sunscreen

Screenshot: X (Formerly known as Twitter)

Okung went on:

It’s only a matter of time before ESPN’s Pat McAfee asks Rodgers about this “controversy” on his show, giving Rodgers yet another platform to spew out his medical takes, which have no basis in science but sound right to him — again, a man with no degree in science or medicine.

So, without getting into a debate about whether people with more melanin in their skin actually need to wear sunscreen, let’s talk about the online debate that seems to be convincing more and more young, white women on TikTok and Insta that sunscreen is bad for them, full of toxic chemicals, and will prevent them from making their own Vitamin D.

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is “by far” the most common form of cancer in the United States — with about 3.3 million people diagnosed with it every year. The origin of at least part of the “sunscreen is bad for you!” trope seems to have started in 2019, when the Food and Drug Administration requested more safety information from sunscreen manufacturers on 12 ingredients in their products. Then in 2021, a lab found the carcinogen benzene in several sun care products, including by big-name brands like Coppertone. But as Yale Medicine points out, the products were contaminated with benzene, not dependent on it for efficacy. That means the contamination was a quality control issue (think Creed Bratton), not something inherent in sunscreen itself (the paper).

The other finding about sunscreens that has people vowing to go SPF-free is a report that tests have shown possible links between sunscreen chemicals, like oxybenzone, and changes in kidney, reproductive, and hormone function. Not only that, limited animal research has raised questions about whether oxybenzone may increase the risk of cancer. However, according to Dr. Jennifer Lin, an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Melanoma Risk and Prevention Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “There has been no conclusive evidence that oxybenzone is harmful to humans.” Lin explained in a 2021 Harvard Medical School piece, “Organizations that have raised concerns about oxybenzone typically cite studies done in rats, where the rats were actually fed oxybenzone. It would take an individual 277 years of sunscreen use to achieve the equivalent systemic dose that produced effects in these rat studies.”

So while there is perhaps some reason to switch from chemical sunscreen (which is absorbed into the skin to block UV rays) to mineral sunscreen (which sits on top of the skin and provides a physical barrier to harmful light, even just as a precaution, there isn’t much scientific evidence that sunscreen is “toxic” or “bad” for you, any more than there is that your local dermatologist is in the pocket of Big Sun Burn. And if you’re concerned about “sunblocking your blessings,” the medical researchers at Harvard Health want to assure you that is not the case. In fact, an Australian study showed no difference in Vitamin C production between test subjects using a placebo and those using sunscreen.

Yes, laying in the sun feels great. Yes, it’s a pain to smear mineral sunscreen all over yourself. No, it’s not killing you.

To cut to the chase, you are far more likely to get skin cancer by not wearing sunscreen than you are exhibiting whatever symptoms rats fed harmful chemicals in large amounts have people worried about. Skin cancer is real, ubiquitous, and can be deadly. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation says “regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen, when used as directed, can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.”

Again, it would have taken anyone with a working brain 30 seconds to Google “is sunscreen harmful?” and read the results from a host of top doctors and medical researchers around the world. But Aaron Rodgers has never been one to research anything before spouting off about it. After all, people might stop paying attention to him.

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