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Is daily use of sunscreens of benefit in the UK?

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Brian Diffey


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Background There is an increasingly widespread belief that year-round use of topical agents containing ultraviolet (UV)-absorbing ingredients is an important factor in reducing the chronic degenerative cutaneous changes associated with sun exposure. Objectives To evaluate the benefit of using sunscreens during different periods of the year for people living in the U.K. Methods An analysis was made of typical solar UV exposure at different times of the year in relation to different topical sunscreen practices. Results It was shown that using sun protection products during the six summer months (April-September) can reduce the lifetime (70 years) UV exposure of a person by an equivalent of almost 40 years unprotected exposure. However, virtually no benefit is gained from using UV protective products from October to March in the U.K. Conclusions As their use is not without cost and the risk of adverse effects, topical products containing UV filters are best avoided during October to March in the U.K.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Diffey BL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Dermatology

Year: 2002

Volume: 146

Issue: 4

Pages: 659-662

ISSN (print): 0007-0963

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2133

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.04589.x


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