Sunscreen alone is not enough

sun screen


A recent study, conducted by scientists at Manchester University and London’s Institute of Cancer Research, has left them questioning the effect of sunscreen according to a report published the journal Nature. Sun exposure has long been known as a risk factor for melanoma skin cancer (the most common form of skin cancer). However, until recently, the molecular mechanism by which UV light damages DNA in the skin has been unclear. This recent study looked at the effects on UV light on the skin of mice at risk of melanoma, and concluded that wearing sunscreen alone is not enough. While in the short term, and SPF (aim for a factor 30 or 50), does help to protect the skin, sunscreen is not a reliable way to prevent skin cancer, which can be fatal.

“People tend to think they are invincible once they put it [sunscreen] on and end up spending longer out in the sun, increasing their overall exposure to UV rays,” Dr Julie Sharp, of the Cancer Research UK was quoted in the report on the study, published by the Daily Mail.

“UV light targets the very genes protecting us from its own damaging effects, showing how dangerous this cancer-causing agent is,” said lead researcher Prof Richard Marais. He adds the study serves to prove that sunscreen alone does not offer complete protection from the damaging effects of UV light. He adds: “This work highlights the importance of combining sunscreen with other strategies to protect our skin, including wearing hats and loose fitting clothing, and seeking shade when the sun is at its strongest.”

Written by Joanne Watson