The phenomenon known as the “paradox of sunscreen” pertains specifically to UVA light. In spite of the wide­spread use of sunscreen over the past 30 years, photoaging and skin cancer rates have continued to rise. If sunscreens were effectively protecting us, this would not be the case.

Growing up through long, lousy winters in Illinois, my friends and I couldn’t wait to get outside at the first sign of spring sun. We were desperate to get a tan, and we “worked” at it with baby oil, reflectors—all the tools of the trade.
Today, we know significantly more about the sun’s power and ability to harm our skin than the medical community did during my invincible teen years in the 1970s, when sunscreens were not yet available.