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Suncreen use not linked to time in the sun

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PARIS, Aug 16, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Recent studies suggest sunbathers using "high protection" sunscreen did not spend longer times in the sun than people using "basic protection" sunscreen.

Although daily sunscreen use has been shown to prevent squamous cell skin carcinoma, several studies suggest sunscreen use may be a risk factor instead of a protective one for melanoma.

Some scientists believe higher protection by stronger sunscreens may encourage more time in the sun by delaying warning signs, such as sunburn, giving one a false sense of safety.

Dr. Alain Dupuy of the Hopital Saint Louis in Paris and colleagues studied 367 vacationers from four French seaside resorts during the summer of 2001. All participants were given one of three sunscreens: SPF 40 labeled as "high protection," SPF 40 labeled as "basic protection," and SPF 12 labeled as "basic protection."

No mention of actual SPF was made on the labels.

Participants completed self-administered questionnaires each evening, detailing their sun exposure and protection for every half-hour period during the day.

The researchers found neither SPF nor labeling was associated with significantly different durations of sunbathing.

The study is detailed in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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