Recent research concerning the relationship between skin cancer and ultra violet light has shed new light on the role sunscreen plays in skin protection. This study shows that sunscreen does not provide complete and comprehensive protection against ultra violet light, meaning even individuals who ensure to apply sunscreen can be at risk of contracting melanoma or another form of skin cancer. Most importantly this study emphasises the need for individuals to use additional methods as well as sunscreen in their skin protection practices. People expecting to undergo extended exposure to the sun should remember to also use hats and concealing clothing, seeking shade when the intensity of the sun's heat is at its greatest.
Ultra violet light causes damage by affecting the body's p53 gene. This is problematic because the p53 gene's role is to protect the body from DNA damage. This recent study found that sunscreen did not provide complete protection from damaging ultraviolet rays, tests showing that while sunscreen decreases the likelihood of individuals' to obtain melanoma, the risk remains present. The key issues are related to social perceptions of sunscreen- people assume that it makes them invincible, and the application of sunscreen may encourage people to take bigger risks in regards to sun exposure.
For Australian citizens, this new information is of particular importance. With one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, it is vital that Australian citizens be aware of the extent of protection that sunscreen and other preventative methods provide. Rather than simply using sunscreen during extreme sun exposure, Australians should remember the importance of sun avoidance and covering up as much as possible with effective sun protective clothing as well.