New light-activated suncream against skin cancer

While many suncreams provide good protection against the sun’s UVB rays, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, they provide less protection against more prevalent UVA rays. Scientists believe this may be one of the reasons why skin cancer incidence rates are increasing worldwide.Researchers in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology of the University of Bath, UK, have created an innovative ingredient which when applied in a suncream can act as a UVA filter and provide fuller protection against skin damage. Scientists here at Bath have previously shown that when exposed to the UVA component of sunlight, the skin releases iron and produces free radicals. Free radicals are harmful species that damage the skin cells by interacting with fat, protein and DNA of the cells. The release of free iron promotes the formation of additional, harmful free radicals that increase the damage caused and has been shown to play a key role in skin ageing and the onset of skin cancer. The new compounds are light activated when exposed to relevant doses of UVA, and unique in how they release anti-oxidants to neutralise free radicals whilst at the same time capturing excess iron in the skin. At the beginning of the year this work benefited from a grant provided by Garnier and the British Skin Foundation.

by B.Briasco

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