Melanoma is the most serious of skin cancers, so much so that prevention is key. We know to use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, reduce sun exposure during sun intense times of the day, and if you’re fair skinned, stay out of the sun as much as humanly possible. Up until now, there was no research that proved sunscreen prevented melanoma. We’ve known sunburn can lead to melanoma, and sunscreen prevents sunburn, but not a direct correlation that sunscreen prevents melanoma. Enter the mouse model, a little 30 SPF sunscreen and UVB light which is the ultraviolet light that burns the skin.
A study done by Cristin Burd, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and the Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics at The OSUCCC — James, showed that “application of sun protection factor 30 (SPF30) sunscreen prior to exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) light delayed melanoma onset in a mouse model.”
They also found that “there were some minor differences in melanoma prevention amongst the different SPF30-labeled sunscreens.”
Some of the influencing factors of the study included trying to decide the correct dose of UVB exposure for a mouse that mimicked the amount of exposure in the human model, their use of only UVB light whereby humans are exposed to both UVB and UVA simultaneously, and the varying sunreen ingredients in the different products being tested.
Until we know for sure, it’s probably a good idea to keep slathering the 30 SPF sunscreen on, and look for ingredients that are most effective, and least toxic – which is a topic of discussion for cosmetic chemists!
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “SPF30 sunscreens delay melanoma incidence in preclinical model: Current testing models gauge sunscreen’s ability to prevent sunburns not prevent cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160418085348.htm>.