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New formulations will improve sunscreen effects in the future

06/16/2009 - News

New formulations will improve sunscreen effects in the future

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Dermatologists are hoping to formulate a sunscreen in a pill but for now you need lotion or cream to protect from skin cancer and sun damage.

Sunscreen was first developed in 1928 and its initial use was to protect from sunburn. Now we know that it performs a much more vital function - preventing skin cancer and the sun damage that causes aging of the skin. According to Dr Henry Lim of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, there is much research ongoing into new formulations of sunscreen. Today's products protect from UVA and UVB - the two components of sunlight that may cause skin cancer and sun damage. But protection against UVA is short-lasting so you have to remember to reapply frequently. One approach being worked on is to improve formulation so that UVA protection lasts longer for one application.

Another approach is to create a sunscreen in a pill - based on antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as green tea and fish oil. Then people would not have to worry about their sunscreen being washed or sweated off and there'd be no need to reapply. With an oral treatment a precise dose that would be sure to protect could be given. With a topical sunscreen, there's always a concern over whether you have applied enough. In the meantime, Dr Lim stresses the importance of everyone - whatever their ethnicity or skin type - using an SPF 15 minimum sunscreen regularly. Covering up and seeking shade when the sun is strong is also important. And as for skin cancer, he suggests you check your 'birthday suit' all over every year (on your birthday, perhaps) for anything growing, changing or bleeding on your skin.

Source
American Academy of Dermatology meeting 27th July 2006

Created on: 08/03/2006
Reviewed on: 06/16/2009

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