Sunscreen not enough to protect against melanoma
A new study warns that wearing sunscreen alone is not enough to protect against melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer.
In the study, scientists at the University of Manchester’s Cancer Research UK Institute and the Institute of Cancer Research used two-month-old mice with a known genetic risk factor for melanoma. They then studied the effects of ultraviolet (UV) light—the same light that comes from the sun and tanning beds—both before and after applying sunscreen to the skin of the mice.
The results showed that before the sunscreen was applied, the UV light damaged the DNA of the mice’s skin cells, which increased risk of melanoma. After sunscreen was applied to the mice, the UV light caused much less DNA damage. However, researchers found that the UV light was still able to cause some genetic abnormalities in the mice despite that fact that they were wearing sunscreen. That led to the conclusion that sunscreen fails to provide 100 percent protection against UV light and the potential development of melanoma.
The findings, published in Nature, do not suggest that people should not wear sunscreen. Rather, researchers concluded that people should practice good sun safety habits—such as avoiding sunburn and wearing protective clothing—in addition to wearing sunscreen.