Causes of Skin Cancer: Artificial Light?

Skin Cancer

While the cause of cancer is still unknown and there is no cure, there are a few things that we do know about skin cancer. One is that too much exposure of the skin to the wrong light can contribute to cancer. Cancer is caused by a genetic trigger of mutations or genetic defects. These mutations can cause skin cells to rapidly multiply and cause malignant tumors. The growth of these abnormal skin cells happens when DNA damage to skin cells is unrepaired. This damage tends to be caused by ultraviolet radiation, from tanning beds or the sun. So, how does artificial light come into play?

Circadian Rythm

There is a study, which showed that artificial light contributed to cancer in humans when they were exposed at night. This study allowed adjustments for the size of the population, air pollution, electricity consumption and the land area that was covered by forests. The thought is that the disruption of the circadian system was the problem and that exposure to light at night was the cause. It was believed to be true across all occupations across the population and no specific community.

Melatonin Hormone

There is also the possibility that the nighttime exposure to light was affecting the body’s production of melatonin. Because the body produces this hormone at night, there is a possible connection between the artificial light and the melatonin hormone, which promotes sleep. Because this hormone peaks in release in the middle of the night, the artificial light could influence the body’s circadian system and cause it to believe the time hasn’t arrived, yet. While more research is necessary to understand the role that melatonin has to play with skin cancer, it is thought to be a crucial one.

Other Forms of Cancer

Artificial light is not only a contributor to skin cancer but other forms as well. The cancers mentioned in the study were lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. You may notice that these are the most common aggressive cancers in more recent years. This is why the conclusion of the study includes a call to action. There has been a request that “Immediate measures should be taken to reduce artificial light at night in the main cities around the world.” You can read more about the study here.


Because there is still so much research about cancer and its causes, there are still so many questions about prevention. However, there are a few things that we do know are helpful; things that you have probably heard time and time again.


Be sure that you are wearing sunscreen. Keep it around SPF 30 to be safe, but a minimum of SPF 15 is necessary at all times. You can implement this into your skin regimen pretty easily since most creams have SPF15 in their ingredients. This still holds true during the winter. You may not think that you will need it when it is dark and gloomy, but ultraviolet rays aren’t only a threat when you see the sun. Just remember to moisturize your face everytime you wash it, and you should be fine. Just remember to buy a moisturizer that happens to have a sunscreen in it.

Blacked Out Rooms

Make sure that your room is as dark as possible. Not only will this help you sleep, but it will help your body produce the melatonin it needs. Blocking out artificial light in your bedroom is a great place to start. If you have to cover your phone while you sleep or keep it in the living room, that is a small price to pay for good sleep and a healthier body. You can also get black-out curtains, to block your windows. This will help with both artificial and natural lights. Sleeping with the door closed and any nearby lights off is a great idea, also. The less light you get in your room, the better for you it will be. Not only does it induce a healthy sleep pattern, but it will keep your body in optimal condition.

If you want to find out more about skin therapies, skin cancer prevention and what you can do for healthier skin; you need to see a professional. The best way to know what your options are is to have someone assess your skin. This means more than having a friend tell you how much they love your complexion. Having a professional look at any freckles and the elasticity of your skin can go a long way. Having it assess will tell you how you need to change your lifestyle. It is more than being superficial. You have to remember that your skin is like any other organ and needs attention. Keeping it optimal is a health decision, not vanity. You can read more about it here.