Sunscreen 'can't be relied on' to protect against skin cancer

Sunscreen cannot be relied on alone to protect the skin from the sun's powerful UV rays, research has found. Scientists discovered mice wearing Factor 50 sunscreen still developed skin cancer, albeit 30% slower than those without protection.

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Wearing sunscreen does not 'make you invincible'

Slathering on sunscreen will not "make you invincible" to the Sun's rays and there is still a chance of DNA damage from UV, a medical expert said.

Prof Richard Marais, who led research into the protection provided by sunscreens, said:

DNA damage is invisible. Don't expect that because you've slapped on a load of sunscreen that you're invincible.

UV light targets the very genes protecting us from its own damaging effects, showing how dangerous this cancer-causing agent is.

Very importantly, this study provides proof that sunscreen does not offer complete protection from the damaging effects of UV light.

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.

– Prof Richard Marais


Sunscreen 'not always enough' to prevent skin cancer

Powerful sunscreens may not always be enough to prevent malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, from developing under the Sun's powerful rays, research has found.

Sunscreen was found to offer short-term protection from the Sun's rays. Credit: PA

Mice wearing Factor 50 sunscreen were exposed to a weekly dose of UV radiation - similar to that a person would be exposed to if they spent an hour a week in a garden in southern England.

Scientists at Manchester University and London's Institute of Cancer Research found tumours still developed but at a 30% slower rate than the skin cancer that developed in mice who were not wearing protection.

Their paper, published in the journal Nature, revealed that even highest grade SPF 50 suncream allows sufficient UV radiation through to damage the DNA in the skins pigment cells.

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