With millions being spent on sunscreen, why are more people than ever suffering with skin cancer?
Despite greater public awareness of skin cancer compared to 10 years ago, over 10,300 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed in Britain every year. And the number is rising.
So where are the problems setting in? As a nation, we have become much more sun savvy, spending £259million pounds a year on products designed to protect us. Perhaps, then, it’s the creams that are to blame?
Sun lotions come in two different forms: a chemical suncream that is absorbed into the skin and deactivates sunlight, and a physical block cream that sits on the skins surface, causing harmful UV rays to bounce off.
In a bid to double the protection, manufacturers have been combining both types of cream – something health experts say has created new health concerns.
Studies by the University of California have found that chemicals used to deactivate UV rays react adversely with sunlight when absorbed, possibly causing DNA damage.
The research suggests that when UV rays hit sunscreen that has penetrated the skin, damage is caused that could pre-empt skin cancer.
Dr Michael Prager of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors believes that antioxidant-based creams are the way forward.
‘The antioxidants in our skin can fix UV damage to DNA, which causes pigmentation and even skin cancer.’
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However, Dr Emma Meredith, spokeswoman for the UK Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association argues that: ‘Worn alone, antioxidant-based creams are not enough to protect against the sun,’
The best advice to avoid premature cancer and premature aging is to apply a high factor cream, put on a hat and find some shade.
What’s your top tip for fighting skin damage? Post in the comments box below.