SPF 30 Sunscreen May Cut Cancer Risk by 80%

2 minute read

If you aren’t a regular sunscreen user, you may want to think twice and lather up when you go outside this summer; a new study found that applying sunscreen drastically reduces the risk of skin cancer.

The latest research out of Ohio State University, which was done on mice, showed that when SPF 30 sunscreen was applied prior to UVB exposure, it significantly reduced the risk of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer.

“We have developed a mouse model that allows us to test the ability of a sunscreen to not only prevent burns but also to prevent melanoma…. We hope that this model will lead to breakthroughs in melanoma prevention,” Christin Burd, assistant professor of molecular genetics at Ohio State University, said in a statement.

The study tested multiple different SPF 30 sunscreens, and found that they all delayed the onset of melanoma and reduced the incidence of tumors.

The study had some limitations. Besides the fact that it was done on animals, it also looked only at a short but intense dose of UVB rays—UV rays across the spectrum can contribute to cancer risk, and the average person is not exposed to that much UVB in one sitting. The lead researcher says that she is currently seeking funding to conduct more studies to explore additional scenarios.

The research was presented Sunday at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2016.

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Write to Tessa Berenson Rogers at tessa.Rogers@time.com