Abstract: Exposure to strong solar radiation may cause sunburn and skin cancer. Sunscreen products applied to the skin are therefore frequently used. Their main function is to protect against sunburn; their effectiveness in protecting against skin cancer is, however, also of interest. Articles published in the recent past have cast doubt upon the suitability of sunscreen products for protection against skin cancer. In order to clarify this issue, the BG Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BGIA) therefore conducted an Internet and literature survey. In the scientific literature, the protective effect of sunscreen is the subject of controversy. Accordingly, a certain efficacy in the prevention of skin cancer cannot be excluded; however, the products do not generally appear suitable for this purpose, particularly in the absence of any other protective measure. It is therefore recommended that a combination of measures be taken to protect the skin against the hazards caused by solar radiation. Besides general avoidance of exposure to strong solar radiation, these measures include wearing of suitable clothing, use of sunscreen, consideration of the individual skin sensitivity, and wearing of sunglasses.
Siekmann, H.; Aengenvoort, B.:
Suitability of sunscreen for the prevention of skin cancer. BGIA-Report 3/2006e. Ed.: Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG), Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BGIA, Sankt Augustin 2006.