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April 1998

The Case for Sunscreens Revisited

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(4):509-510. doi:

In the September issue of the ARCHIVES, Naylor and Farmer1 presented a detailed overview of the experimental data that explored the effects of sunscreens and made a passionate defense of the potential of sunscreen use in the prevention of skin cancers. We are writing to express our concerns about the arguments and conclusions the authors have drawn.

While experimental studies have shown the ability of sunscreens to protect against sunburns and some sun-induced skin lesions, there are currently no data showing that sunscreen use protects against melanoma. Furthermore, results from animal trials or experiments conducted with highly selected subjects (ie, patients with a history of solar keratoses or nonmelanoma skin cancer) are not necessarily valid for the general population.