We all know that we have to slather on sunscreen before heading out. We may even know the right SPF we need to use.

Having said that, there is still a thought that sunscreen is only to be used at the beach. Well this may change your mind.

The rates of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – have doubled in the last 30 years, but finally, there’s some good news to report.

Researchers have discovered that using sunscreen may prevent skin cancer by 80%.

While it has long been known that sunscreens are an effective guard against sunburns, their ability to protect against melanoma has previously been unknown.

Scientists from Ohio State University in the United States tested the application of a variety of sunscreens with SPF 30 on mice before exposing them to UVB light.

The mice were genetically engineered to have skin that closely resembles humans.

The results?

All of the sunscreens with SPF 30 reduced the risk of melanoma by 80%.

“They all worked,” lead researcher Christ-ian Burd said in a news release.

“Now, for the first time, we have a mechanism to say, ‘yes, this sunscreen can protect against melanoma’, and we hope that we can now use that information to develop better, smarter sunscreens.”

SPF-30 sunscreens may significantly prevent the development of skin cancer. Photo: TNS

SPF-30 sunscreens may significantly prevent the development of skin cancer. Photo: TNS

The study, while promising, does have some limitations.

It was conducted on animals and it used only UVB light – not the entire UV spectrum emitted through sunlight.

In addition, the mice were exposed to a short burst of UVB light – the same exposure level as spending a week of concentrated time in the sun.

Researchers presented their findings recently at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting. – Star Tribune (Minneapolis)/Tribune News Service