Using high factor sunscreen may decrease the risk of melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – by 33 per cent compared with low factor product, a large new study has claimed.
In the study by researchers at University of Oslo in Norway, sunscreen users reported more sunburn, more sunbathing vacations and use of sunbeds than those who never used sunscreen.
As a result non sunscreen users had a lower risk of developing melanoma than those who used low factor sunscreen, researchers said.
They found that sunscreen with an adequate factor can reduce the risk of melanoma by over 30 per cent compared with low factor sunscreen.
Melanoma is the cancer with the strongest increase in incidence in the last decade, and the incidence rates have never been as high as in 2014.
Earlier research has shown mixed results, with some studies finding slightly increased risk of melanoma among sunscreen users.
“The explanation for this paradox is that some people use sunscreen to prolong sun exposure and acquire suntan. Moreover, many people don’t apply the proper amount of sunscreen, forget to reapply and miss to apply on all exposed areas resulting in sunburn and increased risk of melanoma,” said Reza Ghiasvand, a PhD candidate at the university’s Department of Biostatistics.
“We found that those who used sunscreen with a factor higher than 15 had a 33 per cent lower risk of melanoma compared with those using sunscreen with a low factor,” said Ghiasvand.
The research group gained access to data from the NOWAC study merged with data from the Cancer Registry of Norway. The study followed over 140,000 Norwegian women for an average of ten years.
The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.