woman holding and applying suntan lotion on a beach

Dr. Steve Xu of the department of dermatology at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago and colleagues have found that few of the sunscreens sold in the U. S. actually protect a person from skin cancer and the medical problems that excess exposure to the harmful radiation from the Sun can cause.

The American Medical Association has recently reported that skin cancer due to sun bathing is at a near epidemic rate in the U. S. The costs of medical treatment for skin cancer have grown astronomically over the last eight years due in part to the rise in health insurance costs. Cuban physicians have developed a cure not a treatment for skin cancer but it is not available in the U. S.

Xu used the top selling sunscreens on Amazon as his test population. The choice was convenient and representative of the purchase selection made in retail environments according to IBISWorld marketing statistics.

The huge variety of nostrums that are purported to protect a person from sun damage and skin cancer can range from $4 per bottle to over $100 per bottle. The more pricey lotions are no more effective in reducing medical problems than the lower priced sunscreens.

The majority of sunscreens fail in two significant ways. They are not resistant to sweat. They are not resistant to water. The problems mean that the sunbather can be rapidly exposed to the harmful effects of the Sun if they sweat or swim. A possible solution is multiple applications of the sunscreen.

The experts recommend that sunscreens be selected that specifically state that they are water proof. The Food and Drug Administration testing of sunscreens does apply to the ability of the sunscreen to last at least 40 minutes in water. The experts also recommend the use of a sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium and no fragrance.