Public Release: 

SPF may not be enough to protect against skin cancer

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Immune protection factor (IPF) in sunscreens and its relation to sun protection factor (SPF) is essential in determining skin cancer prevention ability, researchers found.

In this paper, published in the September issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology , researchers discuss the problems associated with the evaluation of IPF of sunscreens, different techniques for the assessment of IPF in human skin, and propose development of standard techniques for IPF assessment.

Based on past discussion by experts convened by L'Oréal Recherche in Paris in 2002, five groups of immunosuppresion researchers met to discuss the status of IPF in human skin for this study. The researchers tested different sunscreens, methods and factors on volunteers from Australia, Austria, France, UK and USA to establish a standard method for determining IPF.

According to the researchers, the relationship between a sunscreen's SPF and its ability to protect against immunosuppression is not presently known. A sunscreen with high SPF but a low protection against immunosuppression, or IPF, could in fact increase skin cancer risk. The paper describes progress in assessing sunscreen immune protection and demonstrates that much work is still needed to define a standard method to do this.


This study is published in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this study please contact

Corresponding author Antony R. Young, PhD has about 30 years of experience in the field of human skin photobiology with interests in skin cancer, skin aging, tanning, sunscreens and protection from the sun. He can be reached for questions and interviews at or +44 779 906 2992.

About the Journal
The Journal of Investigative Dermatology (JID) publishes papers describing original research relevant to all aspects of cutaneous biology and skin disease. The spectrum of interest is indicated by the breadth of the editorial staff and includes biochemistry, biophysics, carcinogenesis, cellular growth and regulation, clinical research, development, epidemiology, extracellular matrix, genetics, immunology, melanocyte biology, microbiology, molecular and cell biology, pathology, pharmacology and percutaneous absorption, photobiology, physiology, and structure. It is published on behalf of the Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) and the European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR).

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals annually and, to date has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

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