Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Less Sun Is Better Than Using Sunscreen

Date:
May 7, 2007
Source:
The Lancet
Summary:
With the northern hemisphere summer approaching, many people will be taking advantage of the hot weather to sunbathe and relax in the hot weather in parks and on beaches. But avoiding direct sunlight and wearing clothes which stop harmful UV rays from reaching the skin, rather than sunscreen, are the best ways of avoiding skin cancer and the aging effects of the sun.

With the northern hemisphere summer approaching, many people will be taking advantage of the hot weather to sunbathe and relax in the hot weather in parks and on beaches.

But avoiding direct sunlight and wearing clothes which stop harmful UV rays from reaching the skin, rather than sunscreen, are the best ways of avoiding skin cancer and the aging effects of the sun. Dr Stephan Lautenschlager, Outpatient Clinic of Dermatology, Triemli Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland, and colleagues carried out the comprehensive review on sun protection strategies around the world.

The authors say: “Wearing sun protective clothes and a hat and reducing sun exposure to a minimum – should be preferred to sunscreens. Often this solution is deemed to be unacceptable in our global, outdoor society, and sunscreens could become the predominant mode of sun protection for various societal reasons, for example healthiness of a tan, relaxation in the sun.”

They add: “Nevertheless, sunscreens should not be abused in an attempt to increase time in the sun to a maximum.”

The Review highlights the characteristics of clothing that can make all the difference in terms of sun protection factor (SPF). Tightly woven, thick garments made of denim, wool or polyester offer the best protection, while cotton, linen and acetate are much less effective. Lax, dry material, and clothes that have shrunk after washing (thereby making them denser) are better at stopping harmful UV rays reaching the skin, while wet or stretched materials, and those that have been bleached, are not so good.

Sunscreen of varying SPFs is applied, depending on skin type and personal preference - but what does SPF actually mean? SPF is defined as the minimum sun radiation dose (mainly UVB) required to produce sunburn after application of 2mg per square centimetre, divided by the dose of sunlight to produce the same effect on unprotected skin. This translates to a protection factor of 50% for SPF2, 87.5% for SPF8, 93.6% for SPF16, and 96.9% for SPF32.

Sunscreens fall into two categories – inorganic and organic. Inorganic sunscreens act by scattering UV light using zinc or titanium oxides but are generally less cosmetically favourable due to their opaque nature. However they are generally very well tolerated by the skin and produce few allergic effects, thus are recommended for children.

Organic sunscreens actually absorb the UV rays, and as the name suggests consist of a range of complex organic molecules which blend together to give photoprotective qualities.

While many studies have shown that sunscreen protects against acute UV skin damage and non-melanoma skin cancer, whether sunscreen stops melanoma developing has not been conclusively proven.

The authors conclude: “The population has to be advised how to best make use of suncreens. The application of a liberal quantity of sunscreen, is by far the most important factor for effectiveness of the sunscreen, followed by the uniformity of application and the specific absorption spectrum of the agent used.

“Application of organic sunscreens should be done 15-30 minutes before going out into the sun. Waterproof or water-resistant sunscreens should be used to diminish the need for reapplication after swimming followed by towelling, friction with clothing or sand, and sweating.”

Published early online and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Lancet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Lancet. "Less Sun Is Better Than Using Sunscreen." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070506164914.htm>.
The Lancet. (2007, May 7). Less Sun Is Better Than Using Sunscreen. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070506164914.htm
The Lancet. "Less Sun Is Better Than Using Sunscreen." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070506164914.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins