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After dark sunscreens recommended

25 February 2015 09:42

The idea of evening after sunscreen has been proposed

The idea of evening after sunscreen has been proposed

The potential harm to holidaymakers caused by the sun's rays is not just confined to daylight hours, a new study has found.

This has prompted scientists to recommend "evening after" sun creams, rich in vitamin E, to prevent any negative impact.

US researchers traced the source of the damage to melanin, the natural tanning pigment which usually shields sunbathers' skin from an excess of sunshine.

They suggested that melanin is potentially both helpful and harmful when it comes to cancer and the sun's rays, since it is a contributory factor in carcinogenesis.

If tourists already have cancer or have survived the disease they can feel more assured on their breaks abroad by taking out specialist travel insurance.

This can insure them for medical outgoings, should the unexpected happen.

The sun's ultra-violet rays create very reactive types of nitrogen and oxygen in people's skin.

This reaction stimulates electrons within melanin.

This procedure, called chemiexcitation, can result in breakages to the DNA that can happen after the sun has gone down, a maximum three hours from when the skin was exposed to the radiation.

It is now thought that this increases skin cancer risks.

Until now, this process was only supposed to happen in lower kinds of animal life and plants.

Scientists proved that vitamin E's natural benefits provide a possible method of thwarting chemiexcitation.

This is because it can not only repress reactive oxygen by being an antioxidant, but it also stops the transport of energy which involves excited electrons that disrupt DNA.

Yale University's Douglas Brash said that melanin does safeguard against DNA damage by acting like a shield.

But Prof Brash added that it does bad things as well as good.

His colleagues advised that "evening after" sunscreens offer possible solutions to the threat of after-dark carcinogenic processes.

Cancer Research UK's Aine McCarthy said the discovery increases the chances of future "dark damage" screening products being introduced.

The findings are published in the Science journal.