Suncream Ingredient 'Zinc Oxide' Linked To Skin Cancer

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A recent study that has appeared in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology links an ingredient in suncream to an increased chance of developing skin cancer.

According Medical Daily the study suggests that 'zinc oxide' undergoes a chemical reaction that may release unstable molecules, called free radicals, when exposed to sunlight.

Lead researcher Dr Yinfa Ma of Missouri University of Science and Technology suggests that these free radicals could damage cells or the DNA contained within them, which could potentially increase a risk of skin cancer.

Ma also found that the longer zinc oxide is exposed to sunlight, the greater the potential damage to human cells.

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In a statement, Ma said: "Zinc oxide may generate free radicals when exposed to UV (ultraviolet) sunlight and those can kill cells."

However, Dr Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK’s science information manager, said that as details of this study are not yet available, we can tell little about the safety of zinc oxide from the piece of work.

“We do know that getting sunburnt increases the risk of skin cancer – a painful sunburn once every two years can triple the risk of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

“The best ways to enjoy the sun safely are to cover up with clothing, and spend time in the shade when the sun’s at its strongest - between 11 and 3. We also recommend using sunscreen with at least SPF15.”

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