Apparently, There’s an Anti-Sunscreen Trend on TikTok, And No, Sunscreen is Not Bad For You

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In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, trends come and go, but some can have a profound impact on our health and well-being. Enter the “Anti-sunscreen” movement, or “No Sunscreen”, a viral sensation that has garnered attention on platforms like TikTok.

Proponents of this trend argue that skipping sunscreen can be beneficial for your health, sparking debates and concerns among both skincare enthusiasts and medical experts.

What’s the Anti-Sunscreen Movement?

The “Anti-Sunscreen” movement emerged as a counter-narrative to traditional sun protection wisdom. Influencers and individuals alike advocated for shunning sunscreen, claiming that it prevents the body from producing essential vitamin D and asserting that sun exposure is the path to optimal health.

This trend quickly gained traction, captivating audiences with its bold claims and counter-cultural appeal. However, as the movement gained momentum, so did the concerns of dermatologists and medical professionals.

Dermatologists have joined forces to challenge the assertions made by the “no sunscreen” proponents. While it’s true that our bodies require sunlight to synthesize vitamin D, the amount of sun needed is surprisingly small—just a matter of minutes a few times a week.

Dermatologists emphasize that excessive and unprotected sun exposure can lead to an array of health risks, including sunburn, premature aging, and most alarmingly, skin cancer.

Rolling Stone‘s deep dive into the trend underscores the role of influencers in disseminating misinformation. It’s critical to recognize that while influencers may wield significant influence, their expertise might not extend to the realm of dermatology or medical science. The article highlights the alarming consequences of misinformation, as people may blindly follow advice that contradicts established medical guidelines.

The Science Behind Sunscreen and Why It’s Important

To grasp the significance of sunscreen, one must understand the role it plays in safeguarding our skin. Sunscreen acts as a protective shield, absorbing or reflecting harmful UV rays that can damage our skin cells. Contrary to the claims of the “no sunscreen” movement, reputable organizations like the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommend the regular use of sunscreen with at least SPF 30. This not only shields the skin from sunburn but also reduces the risk of skin cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide.

Sunscreen is important for several reasons, primarily to protect your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Here are some key reasons why sunscreen is crucial for your skin health:

  1. Protection against UV Rays: The sun emits two types of harmful UV rays, UVA and UVB. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin and cause wrinkles, while UVB rays can lead to sunburn and contribute to skin cancer. Sunscreen helps to block or absorb these rays, reducing their impact on your skin.
  2. Prevention of Sunburn: Sunburn is not only painful but also damages the DNA in your skin cells, increasing your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen with a sufficient Sun Protection Factor (SPF) can prevent or minimize sunburn by absorbing or reflecting UV rays.
  3. Reduced Risk of Skin Cancer: Prolonged exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of developing skin cancers, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Regular use of sunscreen can help reduce this risk by providing a protective barrier against UV radiation.
  4. Prevention of Premature Aging: UV radiation can break down collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, leading to premature aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Sunscreen helps maintain the youthful appearance of your skin by minimizing UV-induced damage.
  5. Maintaining Even Skin Tone: Sunscreen can help prevent the development of uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation caused by excessive sun exposure. It can also help existing dark spots from getting darker.
  6. Protection Year-Round: Sunscreen is not just for sunny days at the beach. UV radiation can still harm your skin on cloudy days and during the winter months. Using sunscreen daily, regardless of the weather, helps maintain skin health.
  7. Prevention of Eye Damage: Sunscreen with appropriate UV protection can help shield the delicate skin around your eyes and lower the risk of cataracts and other eye-related issues caused by UV exposure.
  8. Sun Safety and Education: Using sunscreen regularly encourages sun-safe habits, including seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding excessive sun exposure during peak hours. It also helps raise awareness about the importance of skin protection.

When using sunscreen, it’s important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a suitable SPF for your skin type and intended level of sun exposure. Applying sunscreen generously and reapplying it every two hours (more frequently if swimming or sweating) maximizes its effectiveness in safeguarding your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Separating Fact from Fiction

One of the central claims of the “no sunscreen” movement centers around the notion that sunscreen inhibits the body’s ability to produce vitamin D. Dermatologists are quick to dispel this notion, emphasizing that brief and sensible sun exposure is more than sufficient to meet our vitamin D needs. In fact, sunscreen does not completely block vitamin D synthesis; it merely prevents excessive exposure that can lead to harm.

Furthermore, concerns about sunscreen ingredients have led to rigorous testing and oversight. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rigorously evaluates sunscreen ingredients for safety and efficacy before they are approved for use. Contrary to some claims, there is no compelling evidence linking sunscreen ingredients to significant health risks when used as intended.

The Tea?

In an era where information spreads like wildfire across social media platforms, it is essential to exercise critical thinking and seek reliable sources of information. The “no sunscreen” movement serves as a cautionary tale about the potential pitfalls of embracing trends without proper scrutiny.

Dermatologists and experts resoundingly advocate for the regular use of sunscreen and responsible sun exposure to safeguard our skin’s health. As informed consumers, we have a responsibility to prioritize evidence-based advice over sensationalized trends, ensuring that our choices contribute to our well-being rather than compromising it.

What do you think?


Written by Raghda El-Sayed

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of and the crazy cat lady your mother warned you not to become!

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