Content » Vol 101, June

Investigative Report

An Ecological Study Indicates the Importance of Ultraviolet A Protection in Sunscreens

Samar Merhi, Pascale Salameh, Peter Kaplan, Shayak Banerjee, Mohamed Lajnef, Emmanuel L.P. Dumont, Khaled Ezzedine
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-3788


The use of sunscreens is recommended to limit the impact of sun exposure on the skin. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between sunscreen sales and melanoma in 4 different countries with diverse sunscreen regulations. Data from publicly avail­able databases were examined for Sweden, England, Australia, and the USA from 1999 to 2018. The association between incidence of melanoma and sunscreen sales was estimated using a generalized estimating equation, and modelling was used to predict melanoma cases. Incidence of melanoma was positively associated with sunscreen sales in England, Australia, and the USA, and negatively associated with sunscreen sales in Sweden. Growth rates in melanoma cases of 0.42%, 16.7%, 19.1% and 12.2% were predicted for Sweden, England, Australia, and the USA, respectively. The differences observed between England, Australia, and the USA, on the one hand, and Sweden, on the other hand, are consistent with the adoption of strong regulations requiring the use of ultraviolet A blocking agents in sunscreens.


The use of sunscreens is considered to be protective against skin cancer. These products should be used appropriately and manufactured with a ultraviolet A:ultraviolet B ratio of 1:3 in order to be protective, or else, as shown in this study, sunscreen might increase the risk of melanoma.

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