Sunscreens are chemical agents that help prevent the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin, or that is what you have been led to believe. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Here's how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer — about five hours.

For decades, irresponsible cosmetic companies and a small group of very vocal, publicity-seeking dermatologists have strongly advocated that chemical sunscreens should be heavily applied before any exposure to sunlight, even on young children. They insisted that such sunscreen use would prevent skin cancer and protect your health. This was despite of the lack of any adequate safety testing of these chemicals.

Over the past decade, many scientists studying cancer have come to virtually the opposite conclusion; that is, the use of sunscreen chemicals may be increasing the incidence of cancer and that sunlight exposure may actually decrease human cancer rates and improve your health.

It now appears that many heavily-used chemical sunscreens may actually increase cancers by virtue of their free radical generating properties. And more insidiously, many commonly used sunscreen chemicals have strong estrogenic actions that may cause serious problems in sexual development and adult sexual function, and may further increase cancer risks.

Many companies make "organic" sunscreens that contain synthetic chemicals. But that's not the worst of it. According to our research, sunscreens give users a false sense of security in that while they effectively prevent sunburn, they do little or nothing to prevent accelerated aging of the skin caused by excessive sunlight.

There is no such thing as a safe sun screen other than fresh coconut pulp rubbed onto the skin. One of the best strategies to protect yourself from the sun is actually not a sunscreen at all, it's wearing clothing or getting into the shade. How is that for a home remedy? A sun burn is the body's way of telling you that you are damaging your body to continue staying in the sun. Get out of the sun! Putting harmful chemical agents on your skin may prevent the burn, but it is adding to the cancer potential.

You definitely do want to get some safe sunlight exposure every day, which has also been shown to help protect against as many as 16 different types of cancer, including; breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, ovarian, bladder, gallbladder, gastric, pancreatic, prostate, rectal, and renal cancers, as well as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Cotton clothing provides about SPF 15, in other words, you will get about 15-times your skin's normal protection from the sun wherever you cover your body with clothing. Just remember that even with protective clothing on your body, it's still important to monitor your skin for the telltale signs of burning.