Background: The incidense of skin cancer has increased severalfold during the last 30 years. I have chosen to see closer at the meaning of the sunscreenproducts. Does todays sunscreens protect sufficiently against UV-radiation? Is the protection just as good against UVA- as UVB-radiation? Can the use of sunscreenproducts be dangerous?
Material and method: In The Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 2003 there were published four articles that focused whether todays sunscreens have good enough protecting properties. These studies raises the question whether broadspectred UV-sunscreens is necessary to achieve optimal protection against both erythema and immunosuppression. The review of these articles is central in this paper.
Results: All studies conclude that there is a need of a UVA-filter in addition to UVB-filter to achieve satisfactory immunoprotection. This is based on the comperison between Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and Immune Protection Factor (IPF), where IPF/SPF = 1 is satisfactory. The studies conclude that IPF/SPF is not satisfactory in sunscreens which only protect against UVB-radiation. The broadspectred sunscreens satifies in all the studies the criteria, although with different degree of UVA-PF to reach the goal. The studies also show that you can achive an increasing IPF/SPF-ratio with higher UVA-PF.
Interpretation: If you want to achieve a satisfying immunoprotecting effect, you should use a sunscreen with both UVB- and UVA-protecting properties. There is a need for an international standardised method to calculate IPF like there is for SPF. This will make it a lot easier to compare studies. The sunscreensproducts can lead to contactallergy if they are used uncritically.Their use should therefore be limited to when you are going to expose yourself to the sun over some time. There is also a general need for information about proper sunscreen use according to skintype and UV-index.