Scientists believe that caffeine in suncream could provide greater protection against skin cancer
Caffeine could hold the key to slowing down the progress of skin cancer as scientists find the chemical found in coffee absorbs ultraviolet radiation when applied to the skin and prevents tumours after exposure to the sun.
US researchers found that mice were slower to develop skin cancer if they were genetically engineered to suppress a particular enzyme, as caffeine does. The scientists believe the protective effects of suncream could be enhanced by adding caffeine.
Caffeine application could be useful in preventing UV-induced skin cancers, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Other experts, however, have warned there could be an adverse affect on other cancers by using caffeine in this way. Commenting on the research, Prof Dot Bennett, Professor of Cell Biology at St George’s, University of London, says the team has made interesting progress but urged precaution.
‘First, one might want to check there is no adverse effect of caffeine on the incidence of other cancers, especially melanoma, which kills over four times as many people as squamous cell carcinoma.
‘Caffeine lotion might promote tanning a little since this family of molecules stimulates pigment calls to make more pigment.’