For many years, consumers have been presented with the knowledge that sunscreen protects their skin from skin cancer. This is the very reason why truckloads of sunscreen have been dispatched to address the needs of consumers for this protection. However, a new study reveals that sunscreen lotion may not prevent some forms of skin cancer.
According to published journals, sunscreen can protect against sunburn. However, it cannot protect against the genetic damage that the UV rays from the sun causes. This damage is what makes people vulnerable to skin cancer.
The study was conducted by researchers from Manchester University and London’s Institute of Cancer Research. They used mice to examine the effects of UV radiation. They have genetically modified these mice to make them susceptible to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Based on their findings, even with sunscreen applied, skin cancer cannot be avoided altogether. Sunscreen delays tumor formation but all the same, cancer can still develop.
As stated by lead researcher Richard Marais, “Very importantly, this study provides proof that sunscreen does not offer complete protection from the damaging effects of UV light.”
The sunscreen, therefore, only functions to limit the short-term and immediate effects of UV radiation. It effectively prevents sunburn, but there is still enough UV that penetrates the sunscreen barrier to cause DNA damage. To be more specific, the UV radiation targets this gene called P53. This is the gene that releases a protein that protects the genome from the UV damage. Studies found out that the sun’s rays actually target this protective protein.
During the experiment, subject mice were categorized into those that were protected with sunscreen and those that were not. After the experiment, it was discovered that unprotected mice were damaged and their risk of developing melanoma were significantly higher. Sunscreen-protected mice, however, were not spared of the risk, although reports from many research shows that the damage procured were not as severe.
The purpose of the study is not to discredit the use and effectivity of the sunscreen lotion. However, it should make consumers aware that sunscreen does not totally protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays. Therefore, it is highly advised that sunglasses, hats and other sun-protective gears should be used when going out. It would also be good to avoid sun exposure especially when the sun is up at its hottest and harshest.
Photo By Joe Shlabotnik [Creative Commons http://goo.gl/WPxQip]