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Sunbeds Not the Only Risk Factor for Skin Damage & Cancer says Environ

11 April 2008

While reports this week are focusing on the increased cancer risks associated with sunbed use, sunbed tanning is not all we need to be worried about.

According to anti-ageing skincare specialists at Environ even those who avoid sunbeds are missing a broader point.   Whether the source of UV is natural or artificial and despite the increasing use of high factor creams, skin is still at risk of damage and cancer, so people need to take sensible protective steps and also to boost their defences with antioxidants. 

Studies in recent years have proved that sunscreens themselves can create free radical damage unless regularly reapplied and also that antioxidants play a vital role in protecting skin, helping prevent skin cancer and keeping skin firm and young looking. 

A study at the University of Illinois 1 showed that antioxidants play a vital role in protecting skin, helping prevent skin cancer and keeping skin firm and young looking.  The researchers explained that most sunscreen products offer inadequate protection against the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. They concluded that the addition of free radical quenching antioxidants vitamins E or C significantly reduced the generation of free radicals. The best results were achieved after multiple applications of the antioxidants when a significant amount of vitamin C accumulated within the skin.

In another study 2,  the University of California, Riverside revealed that a number of common, approved sunscreens for UV-B do not remain on the surface of the skin but are absorbed and then generate oxidative damage themselves.  They showed that unless sunscreen is regularly re-applied during exposure to the sun, the sunscreen itself can become harmful when it has penetrated below the surface of the epidermis. 

While the message about protecting our skin from the sun is getting through, skincare expert and founder of Environ, Dr Des Fernandes, cautions that the growing preference for high SPF creams may put people at greater risk of sun-damage and skin cancer by encouraging them to feel safe to lie in the sun for long periods.

“I can make an SPF 30 or 40 but I don't want to be part of that deception,” he says.  “I believe it is much better to make people aware that they do not have "total" protection and that they should get out of the sun, and also re-apply every one or two hours. 

“Use a sunscreen combined with antioxidants to mop up free radicals.  The antioxidant vitamins C, E and beta-carotene work best when used together.” 

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