Lululemon Yoga Company Advises Consumers that Sunscreen is Worse Than Sunshine
What’s worse, misinformation or skin cancer? A statement recently printed on the shopping bags of yoga-outfitter Lululemon has angered many people in the health and medicine field. Lululemon gives reusable shopping bags to their customers, which are often covered in quotes and sayings. While some statements on the bags are positive (“Friends are more important than money”) or morbid (“Visualize your eventual demise”), one statement stands as a potential health concern. The most recent shopping bag reads, “Sunscreen absorbed into the skin might be worse for you than sunshine. Get the right amount of sunshine.”
Perhaps they are referring to the persistent falsehoods that sunscreen use can lead to vitamin D deficiency or that common sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate are linked to cell damage in humans. Overwhelming research indicates that excess sunshine and unhealthy tanning is much more harmful than a vitamin D deficiency.
The company has said that the statement is not research-based and is meant to spark conversation. Imagine the conversation that could be sparked had the company printed a researched statement such as, “A person’s risk for developing the deadliest skin cancer doubles after more than five sunburns” or “Sunscreen can reduce risk of melanoma by 50%.” Fortunately new and different bags are printed throughout the year, so eventually these bags will fade out of sight. But with the high rates of melanoma deaths every year, it is not over-the-top to call out the printed manifesto as poor advice. Consumers are hopefully getting their medical advice from doctors and not from shopping bags, but those in the medical fields should be aware that statements like these are being marketed to their patients.