People were less likely to use sunscreen if they were male, older, less educated. Photo: AFP
Using sunscreen regularly can reduce the risk of a potentially deadly form of skin cancer by 40 per cent, according to a world-first study released today.
Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia conducted a study of around 1,700 people aged between 18 and 40 years.
They found that regular use of sunscreen reduced the risk of melanoma by 40 per cent compared to those who rarely used it.
"The association of sun exposure and sunburn with melanoma risk, particularly in childhood, is well established and this study showed that regularly using sunscreen was protective against the harmful effects of sun exposure," lead researcher Anne Cust, an associate professor at University of Sydney, was quoted at saying by 'Xinhua' news agency.
About two in three Australians are diagnosed with melanoma or other types of skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old.
However, it is still difficult to get people to regularly apply sunscreen, and a number of factors determine the likelihood of sunscreen use, Cust said.
"Regular users of sunscreen were more likely to be female, younger, of British or northern European ancestry, and have higher education levels, lighter skin pigmentation, and a strong history of blistering sunburn," she said.
"People were less likely to use sunscreen if they were male, older, less educated, or had skin that was darker or more resistant to sunburn," she added.
"This study confirms that sunscreen is an effective form of sun protection and reduces the risk of developing melanoma as a young adult," Cust said.