Kristin Cavallari Might Not Wear Sunscreen, But You Still Should

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Written By Paklay Zablay

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Kristin Cavallari has come under fire—or shall we say, UV rays—for sharing her “controversial” take on the importance of wearing sunscreen on her podcast.

In a January episode of Let’s Be Honest, a segment from which went viral this week, the Laguna Beach alum admitted she doesn’t wear SPF and asked her guest to explain why it might not be necessary.

This guest—functional and Eastern medicine practitioner Dr. Ryan Monahan—is a Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine as well as a licensed acupuncturist (LAc) and an Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) Certified Practitioner (IFMCP). These certifications do not require training in medicine, dermatology, skin care, or aesthetics.

Still, Cavallari sought his guidance regarding SPF: “I want to discuss the sun and sunscreen, which I know is controversial,” she said in the clip. “I don’t wear sunscreen. And anytime I do an interview I get a lot of shit when I admit that I don’t. Talk to me about the health benefits of the sun, and maybe why we don’t need sunscreen?”

Monahan’s take? SPF is a “very controversial topic, which is so funny because it’s the sun.” He also said that the sun is “life-giving” and “nourishing,” and that people now live “quite an inflammatory lifestyle.” This is relevant, because according to Monahan, if you are “internally inflamed” and lacking antioxidants, the sun can “aggravate that” further. His theory? If you combat your internal inflammation, you can essentially train your skin to better tolerate the sun.

However, actual dermatologists say nothing of the sort. The official guidance from The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is to use broad-spectrum protection SPF of at least 30 that protects against UVA and UVB rays, though dermatologists with whom Glamour has spoken actually recommend more.

“The current recommendations and guidelines are to wear a minimum of SPF 30, yet I encourage the use of SPF 50+ to account for the fact that the average person does not use the recommended amount to attain the sunscreen label rating,” Ryan Turner, MD, a board-certified New York City dermatologist and co-founder of TRNR Skin, told Glamour. “That little difference in protection adds up after long hours on the beach, day after day, year after year.”

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Such is especially important if you’re spending extended periods of time outdoors. “Remember to protect your skin from the sun,” Brendan Camp, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York City’s MDCS Dermatology, reiterated. “Use an SPF 30 minimum, sunglasses, a hat, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your ears, neck, and lips.”

All of this guidance is universal, because no one individual is immune to skin cancer: Not only is skin cancer the most common cancer in the U.S., but one in five Americans are estimated to develop it in their lifetime. That’s about 9,500 people in the U.S. alone who are diagnosed with skin cancer every single day, per the AAD.

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