Sunscreen May Not Protect Us As Much As We Think

sunscreenBad news for those of us who slather on sunscreen and sit under the rays: sunscreen alone might not be enough to protect us. I know, I know. The major buzz kill bad news comes courtesy of the Institute of Cancer Research. They issued a release saying that new research has shown that sunscreen is not enough to prevent melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Researchers used mice to test their theory and proved that while sunscreen does help a bit, it does not prevent damage completely. Apparently, UV light could still cause problems in the certain gene that typically protects the skin from the impacts of DNA damage caused by UV light.

The research published in Nature seems pretty damning and awfully depressing the first week summer is officially here. So what can we do instead?


The tips aren't exactly good news. We can wear wide-brimmed hats that block the sun. We can wear loose-fitting clothing that covers exposed skin. And we can sit in the shade.

Of course as a mom with a 5-month-old baby, I was employing most of these strategies anyway. Babies are typically not supposed to use sunscreen (although our pediatrician told us it's better to use a natural sunscreen than let her burn!), so we always carry a beach tent, a giant hat, and long-sleeved swim shirts for the baby.

Now we can all dress like her! In all seriousness, I see the market for full-coverage swim attire taking off in the coming years. At least for smart people. We've finally started to embrace pale skin (er, except on Jersey Shore), so why not go back to 1920s-style bathing suits?

Maybe we had the right idea back then after all.

Will you change your beach habits because of this news?


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