SPF may not be enough to protect against skin cancer

Immune protection factor (IPF) in sunscreens and its relation to sun protection factor (SPF) is essential in determining skin cancer prevention ability, researchers found.

In this paper, published in the September issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology , researchers discuss the problems associated with the evaluation of IPF of sunscreens, different techniques for the assessment of IPF in human skin, and propose development of standard techniques for IPF assessment.

Based on past discussion by experts convened by L'Oréal Recherche in Paris in 2002, five groups of immunosuppresion researchers met to discuss the status of IPF in human skin for this study. The researchers tested different sunscreens, methods and factors on volunteers from Australia, Austria, France, UK and USA to establish a standard method for determining IPF.

According to the researchers, the relationship between a sunscreen’s SPF and its ability to protect against immunosuppression is not presently known. A sunscreen with high SPF but a low protection against immunosuppression, or IPF, could in fact increase skin cancer risk. The paper describes progress in assessing sunscreen immune protection and demonstrates that much work is still needed to define a standard method to do this.



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