Skin creams that prevent cancer

By Ann Griswold • Published: March 26th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The future of skin care is so bright you may need to wear shades. Experimental ingredients formulated by scientists at two U-S universities could someday revolutionize the way various lotions and potions prevent skin cancer.

More than one million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, according to the National Cancer Institute. The process starts when ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin and damage the D-N-A in cells. Lathering on a thick layer of sunscreen is an easy way to protect your skin but U-V rays can still sneak through if you’re not careful.

Sunscreens of the future may do more than just block the sun’s harmful U-V rays. Researchers at Boston University and the University of Alabama have discovered lotions that could reverse damage from the sun by jump-starting the cell’s D-N-A repair system. One lotion activates D-N-A repair proteins, while the other tricks the cell into entering hyper-repair mode by mimicking fragments of damaged D-N-A.

Both lotions have reduced the risk of skin cancer in mice but scientists say the ingredients must survive additional rounds of testing before they enter the marketplace. Until then, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer by avoiding tanning beds and limiting the amount of time you spend in the midday sun. Wearing sunglasses and hats can also help protect the delicate areas on your face. And contact your physician if you notice any changes in the appearance of your skin that may signify skin cancer.