Candice Lesage, dermatologist in Montpellier: “Sunscreen is one means of protection among others”

Dr. Candice Lesage, onco-dermatologist at the Montpellier Cancer Institute, offers alternatives to sunscreen suspected of being harmful to both the environment and health.

Can we do without sunscreen?

Yes and no. What I mean is that sunscreen is one means of protection among others. It is above all the behavior that comes into play. It is necessary to avoid exposures between 10 and 16 hours and to seek the shade. Ideally, you should have a hat on your head, sunglasses on your nose, and clothes that protect against UV rays.

If people put on anti-UV clothing instead of applying sunscreen, I’ll be all the happier because it’s more effective. The cream is a supplement for areas that cannot necessarily be covered, such as the neckline, face or forearms. Zero cream, I’m not against it, provided that these recommendations are applied.

But it is quite difficult to integrate these measures into daily life, especially in summer. On the other hand, solar capsules cannot replace sunscreen. This is a received idea conveyed by brands. If you want to look good, why not. You can spend your money like that. But to protect yourself from the sun, it makes no sense.

These capsules are not useful at all, I want to emphasize this point. Contrary to what is said, there are no dietary supplements that prepare the skin for the sun. They color the skin superficially and absolutely do not replace a sunscreen in terms of protection.

Are some sunscreens dangerous?

This subject is much discussed… So far, we have not identified any health risks, whether the filters are chemical or mineral. On the other hand, we know the benefits of sunscreen in terms of protection against ultraviolet rays. We protect ourselves against sunburn, thus reducing the risk of skin cancer later.

We must weigh these risks and these benefits: we have scientific proof of their benefits, but we cannot prove their dangerousness. Regarding the pollution generated by these filters and their toxicity in the environment, manufacturers have taken this issue into consideration. They are trying to improve their formulas to limit the impact on marine life.

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