UK & World News

  • 12 June 2014, 7:20

Factor 50 Suncream 'Does Not Stop Skin Cancer'

Factor 50 suncream is not a reliable way of protecting against skin cancer, according to researchers.

A Cancer Research UK study found high factor suncream can reduce DNA damage and slow the onset of malignant melanoma - but it does not offer complete protection.

Researchers found that even when using high factor cream, enough UV radiation got through to damage the skin's pigment cells which would increase the chance of developing the disease.

During the study, mice who were predisposed to melanoma took only around 30% longer to develop cancer when coated in factor 50 suncream than those who were not.

Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: "People tend to think they're invincible once they've put it on and end up spending longer out in the sun, increasing their overall exposure to UV rays.

"This research adds important evidence showing that sunscreen has a role, but that you shouldn't just rely on this to protect your skin."

Study author Professor Richard Marais said: "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."

Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, with more than 13,000 people being diagnosed with the disease every year.

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