Young adults who regularly use sunscreen reduce their risk of skin cancer by 40%, a study has found.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between two and three million non-melanoma skin cancers and 1,32,000 melanoma skin cancers occur each year globally.
The global incidence of melanoma continues to increase, however, the main factors that predispose to the development of melanoma seem to be connected with recreational exposure to the sun and a history of sunburn. These factors lie within each individual's own responsibility.
"The association of sun exposure and sunburn with melanoma risk, particularly in childhood, is well established and this study showed that regularly using sunscreen was protective against the harmful effects of sun exposure," said lead researcher Anne Cust, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney in Australia.
Cust noted that it is still difficult to get people to regularly apply sunscreen, and that likelihood to do so depended on a number of factors.
"Regular users of sunscreen were more likely to be female, younger, of British or northern European ancestry, and have higher education levels, lighter skin pigmentation, and a strong history of blistering sunburn," Cust said.
"People were less likely to use sunscreen if they were male, older, less educated, or had skin that was darker or more resistant to sunburn."
For the study, the team analysed data of around 1 700 people aged between 18 to 40 years.
"This study confirms that sunscreen is an effective form of sun protection and reduces the risk of developing melanoma as a young adult," Cust said.