Register today for our JHB Nail Competition

Scientist questions conventional theories about sun damage

A renowned retired professor from University of Illinois in Chicago, Dr Win L Chiou, has published numerous articles challenging conventional concepts on skin ageing and skin cancer.

He pointed out that the pioneering work of Dr Sam Shuster’s group in the British Journal of Dermatology (1975) on the dominant effect of intrinsic factor on skin ageing (i.e. skin collagen contents totally unaffected by sun exposure) in a very large number of subjects was completely ignored by scientists over the last 5 decades. Shuster’s work was recently supported by Chiou’s exponential kinetic analysis of their data that also clearly contradicted conventional accelerated ageing theory. The above is also confirmed by his analysis of other published data showing total lack of sun exposure on ageing of superficial capillaries in humans.

Chiou was the first one to demonstrate exponential ageing kinetics of human hearts, our body engines, indicating the paramount importance of reduced cardiac output, nutrients, or even water on ageing that has been almost completely ignored in molecular dermatology.

Chiou also invoked the genomic stability doctrine for smooth passage of generations of good health and appearance to theoretically rationalize why exposure to non-burning sunlight is not damaging. This is because any damage to DNA and other tissue components can be completely repaired or removed by our body’s extremely efficient repair mechanisms. “Non-cumulative, non-consequential sunlight damage” was coined. Low cancer rates in the world’s population is clear, supporting evidence for such a doctrine. Additionally, erythema, a mild sunburn, can be completely self-healed in days. He was the first one to show that strong sunburn, not chronic non-burning sun exposure, is the root cause of BCC, SCC and most melanoma based on a re-analysis of data published from Harvard University.

Controversially, Chiou advocates not using sunscreen in our daily lives “as non-burning, moderate healthy sun-exposure can provide numerous benefits such as vitamin D and immunity enhancement, lower risk of bone fracture, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, as well as, ironically, protection against skin cancer. Use of sunscreen for intense intermittent sunbathing should be strongly discouraged mainly due to an SPF-independent missing applications that may eventually result in sunburn and skin cancer; this may mainly account for exponential increases of skin cancer incidences in USA and many other countries in recent decades”.

Chiou suggested the notion of wrinkles caused by chronic sunlight exposure is simply a statistical impossibility as the whole face, not just wrinkling lines, is exposed to sunlight evenly. He postulated that wrinkling primarily reflects our body’s defense mechanisms by reducing effective surface area to minimize water loss from the skin caused by decreased cardiac output and sun and wind exposure. He said conventional experiments to demonstrate such wrinkle etiology were fundamentally flawed. They didn’t use low UV doses equivalent to UV Index 1 to 3 administered at constant rates over longer periods such as 30-60 minutes. When UV dose is given as a bolus in ab out 1 minute or less, as commonly practiced, this may completely overwhelm our body’s repair mechanisms, thus yielding misleading results on the effects of radiation on metalloproteinases or collagens. He suggests using long-acting moisturizers such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin as effective anti-photoaging, anti-skin cancer and skin-firming agents. Chiou’s articles in 2022 were published in Journal of Dermatology Research and have received over 200,000 views to date.(Sources: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/conventional-theories-of-photoaging-and-skin-cancer-challenged-by-scientist-dr-win-l-chiou-301749808.html; Dr Win L Chiou)