Does using sunscreen increase my risk of getting skin cancer?

This is a common question that I am asked that has a complicated answer. To put it simply, the answer is maybe. Studies have shown that people who apply sunscreen regularly are more likely to experience painful, damaging sunburns. In fact, these persons had a 23% greater risk of multiple sunburns within the past year. Why? There are several possible explanations for these results. Some persons may not apply enough sunscreen or apply it evenly to protect themselves properly. Secondly, many people who use sunscreen spend more time in the sun as they believe that they are more protected, although this can lead to increased damage and risk of sunburn.

In summary, regular use of sunscreen will reduce one’s risk of sunscreen if:

  • one does not increase their sun exposure because they are using sunscreen
  • if enough sunscreen is applied
  • the sunsceen is applied evenly.

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