The research looks into the role that sunscreens play in helping to protect against skin cancer, and showed that when SPF 50 is applied, skin is damaged at a slower rate.
“Our study validates public health campaigns that promote sunscreen protection for individuals at risk of melanoma,” says the study, published in the journal, Nature.
The research acts as an important reminder of the danger of sun exposure and also highlights the importance of using sunscreen to protect the skin,; although not as the only measure, as skin still becomes damaged, just not as quickly.
On reading the study, the Cosmetics Toiletry and Perfumery Association reiterates that sunscreens cannot offer 100% protection and cannot ‘block’ the sun or protect fully against its damaging effects.
Dr Chris Flower, Director-General of the CTPA says: “As cosmetic producers we never talk about cancer in relation to the product - we cannot talk about protecting against or stopping disease.”
“We never recommend that sun care products should be used to stay out in the sun longer, only as part of ‘sun safe’ behaviour, which includes staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, and covering up.”
As such, the term ‘sunblock’ or anything that suggest there is 100% protection, is not allowed legally, and the furthest a label can go is to say ‘very high’ protection.
The study looked into how malignant melanoma is caused and investigated the effects of UV rays on melanocytes.
As part of the study, scientists looked at the cells with or without having applied an SPF 50 sunscreen with UVA protection.
They found that while the protected and unprotected skin cells both eventually showed damage after the UV radiation, the cells in the skin protected with sunscreen were not damaged as quickly.