High SPF Sunscreen Use Linked To Lower Risk of Melanoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Reza Ghiasvand, PhD Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo. Oslo, Norway

Dr. Reza Ghiasvand

Reza Ghiasvand, PhD
Postdoctoral fellow,
Department of Biostatistics,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Oslo.
Oslo, Norway

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: To date, findings from studies have been inconsistent. Some studies found a decreased risk of melanoma among sunscreen users, while others found no association or a higher risk of melanoma among sunscreen users. Several studies found that many sunscreen users do not apply sunscreens properly and do not reapply as recommended and stay longer in the sun after using sunscreen and as a result get sunburn and increase their risk of skin cancer.

Our findings suggest higher UV exposure among sunscreen users compared to nonusers. However, those who used sunscreen with high SPF had 33% lower risk of melanoma compared to users of low SPF sunscreens.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Sunscreen with high SPF might be able to decrease the risk of melanoma compared to low SPF sunscreen. However, the effectiveness of sunscreen depends not only on its SPF but also on ultraviolet spectral absorption, amount used, reapplication, and coverage of sun-exposed parts. Several studies found that people usually apply sunscreens much less than the recommended amount, do not apply evenly to the skin especially on areas such as ears, neck and feet, and neglect or forget re-application every two hours or after perspiring or swimming.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: More well-designed prospective studies are required to replicate the association between sunscreen use and risk of melanoma. Moreover, improvement in formulations and the sun protection properties of modern sunscreens and their effectiveness in reducing melanoma risk need further investigation. Replication of the association between sunscreen use and risk of melanoma in other populations and among males is important for evaluating the generalizability of the findings.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Sunscreen is not the most reliable method of sun protection due to the reasons I mentioned before, and should be applied in company with other methods of sun protection. People should avoid over exposure to midday sun, use protective clothing, and apply sunscreen.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


R. Ghiasvand, E. Weiderpass, A. C. Green, E. Lund, M. B. Veierod. Sunscreen Use and Subsequent Melanoma Risk: A Population-Based Cohort Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2016; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2016.67.5934

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Last Updated on September 21, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD