Conventional thinking suggests that the best way to avoid skin cancer is to use sunscreen, particularly one made from organic materials. New research, however, continues to find other risk factors. Long known as a causative factor in lung cancer, new research suggests that smoking increases your chances of developing skin cancer, especially if you are a woman. For the now, the data is correlational.
According to reports, the study, which is published in Cancer Causes, compared 383 patients with skin cancer to 315 people without the disease (355 men, 343 women). It found a significant increased risk for skin cancer among women, with the data less robust for men.
“The study found that women who had squamous cell skin cancer were more likely to have smoked than those who were free from the disease. And those who smoked at least 20 years were twice as likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer, a less aggressive form of skin cancer than melanoma.
Men who smoked had a modest risk for the two types of non-melanoma skin cancer — basal cell and squamous cell cancer — but the results weren’t statistically significant.”
Skin cancer in the Middle East is relatively low among many populations, with certain groups in Israel at a significantly higher risk. These include native-born Jewish men and women; Arab-Israelis have a much lower risk level.
Some suggested reasons for why this population stands out include increased sun exposure from more relaxed styles of dress, and use of tanning beds particularly among urban, secular Israelites.
While doctors generally recommend sunscreen, not all environmentalists agree that this is the safest option for preventing or decreasing skin cancer risk. A 2010 report in AOLhealth.com found an alarming link between sunscreen use and accelerated skin cancer risks.
Bottom line: If your skin matters to you, reconsider those bad habits like smoking and educate yourself on potentially harmful compounds in beauty aids, including sunscreen. We’ve got a recipe for those who want to Make Their Own Organic Sunscreen as well.