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Sunscreens And Uva

Sunscreens And Uva

A recent study conducted by the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research Institute at Sydney University and funded by the Cancer Council of NSW has found that UVA plays an active role in the onset of skin cancers.

“There is good evidence to show that UVB exposure is linked to non-melanocytic skin cancers but this is one of the first published papers to actually confirm the role of UVA,” says Carolyn Watts, Health Promotion Manager of the Cancer Society.

“We have long suspected that UVA plays an active role in the onset of skin cancer, particularly with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer which kills nearly 300 New Zealanders each year. This study demonstrates that UVA can also be a contributing factor with other non-melanocytic cancers but it is more likely to be a combination of both UVA and UVB.

“The key point is for people to continue to reduce their exposure to all forms of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) during summer months when New Zealand’s UVR levels are extreme,” says Ms Watts.

New Zealand and Australian sunscreen brands that meet the AS/NZS2604 Standard are generally better than those produced overseas, but there is still some capacity to improve protection against UVA, she says. Broad Spectrum sunscreens filter out roughly 97% of UVB and 80% of UVA. The joint sunscreen committee is currently reviewing testing criteria and procedures of the Sunscreen Standard for UVA.

“The puzzle is for the sunscreen industry to design products which further protect us,” says Ms Watts.

“Sunscreens should not be used as the first line of defence against skin cancer. They should always be used in conjunction with shade, hats and protective clothing. When choosing a sunscreen, it is important to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen as it provides both UVB and UVA protection.”

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