Sunscreen Isn't Enough To Protect You From Skin Cancer

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 06/13/2014 | 10:45 AM EDT

Study says SPF 500 doesn't completely prevent melanoma

Before you go on your next trip to the beach this summer, you may want to bring more than just your sunscreen. A group of researchers say SPF 50 may not be enough to evade melanoma or skin cancer.

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Cancer Research UK reports that while sunscreen with an SPF of 50 can lessen DNA damage and slow melanoma's development, it doesn't offer total protection.

For the study, mice that were slathered in SPF 50 only took 30 percent more time to get melanoma than mice that weren't, the researchers found. They saw that UV light directly affects skin pigment DNA, which helps explain how exactly that light leads to melanoma.

"This research adds important evidence showing that sunscreen has a role, but that you shouldn't just rely on this to protect your skin," said one of the lead researchers Dr. Julie Sharp.

"It's essential to get into good sun safety habits, and take care not to burn - sunburn is a clear sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged and, over time, this can lead to skin cancer."

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The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that nearly 10,000 people will die from melanoma this year. One person dies from melanoma every hour. It's the only one of the seven most common cancers that is on the rise.

Good habits that people should adopt include wearing a hat and loose-fitting clothing, and seeking shade when the sun is at its peak strength.

 (Photo: 13/Buena Vista Images/Ocean/Corbis)

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