Sunscreen protects key anti-cancer gene
According to a study in the journal Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, researchers from Australia's Queensland University of Technology (QUT) determined that sunscreen, when used properly, both protects skin against UV damage and prevents damage to an anti-cancer gene. This is good news because once skin cells have DNA damage, there is a higher risk of skin cancer.
For their study, the researchers recruited 57 patients who were having a series of skin biopsies and assessed molecular changes in their skin before and after exposure to UV, with and without sunscreen. They first took biopsies of two sites on unexposed skin, then applied sunscreen to one site and left the other site bare while they exposed them to UV light. They then took biopsies of both sites again. After 24 hours, they took another set of biopsies and compared the skin samples. Lead researcher, Dr. Elke Hacker notes that "after 24 hours where the sunscreen had been applied, there were no DNA changes to the skin and no impact on the p53 gene." That's the anti-cancer gene.
Hacker says the research showed that the effect of sunscreens goes beyond protecting against the redness of sunburn. She believes the findings also set a benchmark for researching "super sunscreens" that help repair skin damaged from sun exposure.