Millions of people slather on sun screen when they head for the beach or spend extended time outdoors in the summer, in hopes of reducing the risk of skin cancer. But could they actually be increasing the risk?
Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology believe it's possible.
oxide, a common ingredient in sunscreens, undergoes a chemical reaction
that may release unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free
radicals seek to bond with other molecules, but in the process, they can
damage cells or the DNA contained within those cells. This in turn
could increase the risk of skin cancer.
Dr. Yinfa Ma, Curators’
Teaching Professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, and his graduate
student Qingbo Yangalso found that the longer zinc oxide is exposed to
sunlight, the greater the potential damage to human cells.