A Cochrane review has published the results of its findings of a study that attempted to determine how effective sunscreen was in preventing skin cancer.
There wasn’t much data on the topic to be found, so the review includes the results of just one study, which compared the daily application of sunscreen with the occasional use of sunscreen over a period of 4.5 years.
More than 1,600 Australian participants were analysed as part of the study.
The review found that there was no difference between the numbers of people who developed BCC or cSCC (the most common types of skin cancer) in the two groups during the trial period.
The Cochrane review stated “So, there did not seem to be a difference in applying sunscreen daily compared with using it occasionally.”
A separate study by the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) National Center for Toxicological Research (NTP) found that a component of Vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, has been linked to skin cancer.
Retinyl palmitate is often found in many sunscreen lotions. It has been found to promote the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied topically and exposed to sunlight.
One study on hairless mice revealed that the development of skin tumors was accelerated when a vitamin-A-laced cream was applied to the mice and then exposed to ultraviolet light daily for one year.
Following the study and similar ones like it, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) issued a warning in which it stated: “Six years after EWG sounded the alarm about retinyl palmitate, the FDA still hasn’t completed follow-up studies that will allow the agency to take a position on the safety of vitamin A and related chemicals in cosmetics and sunscreens.
“Most cosmetics companies have not removed these ingredients from sunscreens and other skin and lip products … EWG calls for sunscreen makers to voluntarily stop adding this ingredient to sunscreens until there is proof that it can be safely used on sun-exposed skin. …
“EWG recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens and other skin and lip products containing vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinoic acid.”
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