This summer will undoubtedly be marked by an increase in the exposure of the French to the sun's rays: following confinement, 41% of the French express their desire to expose themselves more, an even more marked desire among women (one in two) and stronger among young people (60% of young people).
However, many still do not measure the risks ... Thus, in France, there are a total of 90,000 cases of melanoma, including more than 11,000 new cases each year.
Despite this major public health issue, the survey reveals that:
- on the beach, another 20% of French people do not use any protection, and 28% use it "sometimes" (once or twice a day),
- and in town, this figure climbs to 53% of French people, and even peaks at 63% for men.
Françoise Audebert, scientific advisor at FEBEA reminds us of the following precautions: “ In town, the intensity of UV rays is the same as on the beach. Sun damage is caused by UV rays, which do not make you feel hot. And pollution accentuates the harmful effects of UV rays on the skin. It is therefore important to use sun protection in the city as soon as the sunny days appear. "
Men's behavior is of particular concern: one in four men never use sunscreen at the beach (compared to one in six women). However, as Françoise Audebert reminds us: “ Men's skin is no less fragile than that of women. It is important that men also adopt the application of sun protection product as a preventive gesture ” . In 2017, out of 15,000 new cases of cutaneous melanoma estimated in France, 8,000 were men (compared to 7,343 women) and men accounted for 60% of deaths.
On the beach, only one in two French people apply cream on average three times a day. The first motivation is to avoid sunburn (43%), followed by the desire to protect yourself from health risks such as cancer (36%). Only 12% protect themselves to counter the effect of the sun on the aging of the skin. As for those who hesitate to protect themselves, they first highlight the toxicity of the ingredients (37%), followed by the side considered impractical or sticky of creams (29%), and finally by the concern to protect the environment. (23%).
However, organic solar products are not overwhelmingly convincing: 60% of French people say they do not use them. As for those who opt for organic formulas, their motivations are divided between environmental and health reasons.
Can sunscreen contain a toxic ingredient? Laure Menanteau, scientific advisor at Febea, explains that a sun product is a cosmetic product, that is to say that it is framed by European cosmetic regulations, which are the strictest in the world. What makes it all the more effective is that it evolves according to scientific discoveries. For example, we can note 23 updates in this area over the past six years.
Some UV filters used in the composition of sun products are the subject of debate: such as titanium dioxide or octocrylene. Titanium dioxide in the form of a nanomaterial is an extremely effective sun filter, sometimes denounced as a possible carcinogen, and the safety of which in sun products has nevertheless been perfectly proven. According to Febea, the most recent scientific data confirms that titanium dioxide does not penetrate the skin. It behaves like a tiny mirror that reflects and absorbs the sun's most harmful rays, namely UVA and UVB rays, and is therefore particularly effective.
What about the risks of ocean pollution from solar filters? According to Febea, the concentration of sun filters in water is extremely low, on the order of nanograms (one billionth of a gram) to microgram (one millionth of a gram) per liter. “The perception of an oily film on the surface of the water is absolutely not representative of the quantity of product in the water. It is even less representative of the amount of solar filter in the water, this being only one component among others of the solar product. Titanium dioxide, which is a sunscreen of mineral origin, does not stay on the surface of water, nor does it dissolve in water. It therefore does not prevent UV rays from entering the water. In addition, sun protection products are now formulated to be water resistant, which prevents them from being deposited in bathing water , according to the federation. Likewise, manufacturers of solar products are constantly improving the biodegradability of their formulas. We sometimes hear about the effect of certain sun filters, such as octocrylene, on coral bleaching. It should be noted that this effect is not proven and would in any case be minimal compared to the main causes of the decline of corals, namely the increase in water temperature, the acidity of the water and excessive fishing. corals. This has been recently demonstrated, among others, by the Oceanographic Center of Monaco. "