This is a little controversial, but I still think we should talk about it…
After all, it could affect your health.
A recent study at the University of Southern California discovered a “sunscreen gene” that may actually help fight off skin cancer.1
And with 86% of melanoma cases resulting directly from UV exposure, this could revolutionize cancer research.2
You see, that UV resistance gene works as a tumor-suppressor for skin cancer, and acts like your body’s own “internal” sunscreen.
Now, some people ARE born with the gene…but it’s rare. scientists say that it’s incredibly unusual to find someone with a non-damaged UV resistance gene.
But researchers weren’t satisfied with just knowing that this gene exists…they wanted to know exactly what it DID. So they put it to the test.
During the study, doctors took cells from a group of 340 participants — some with the UV resistance gene, some without — and gave them a UV shot designed to simulate sun damage.
And, 24 hours after that shot, people WITH the gene were able to repair over 50% of UV-damaged cells…
But those without the gene? They were only able to repair 20% of damage from the shot.3
So you’re probably wondering: What’s so controversial about that?
Well, some people are worried that this discovery could be used for something not everyone agrees with: Gene editing.
It’s the new technology which allows scientists to manipulate DNA in embryos.4
So theoretically, they could take the UV resistant gene and make sure that every new baby is born with it…and that it gets passed on to future generations
Just think about it… this could create a world of people who NEVER get sunburnt, even when they spend hours in the sun.
People who don’t have to worry as much about age spots, wrinkles, leathery skin, and even skin cancer — all of which are caused by UV damage.5
So naturally, it’s a huge deal in the medical community… but there’s still a LOT to figure out.
Is it ethical? Is it safe? I predict these questions will be a huge debate in the coming years.
So in the meantime, here are a few tips to help keep you safe in the summer sun:
- Apply ahead of time: Most sunscreens takes 15-30 minutes to bond to your skin…so wait before heading out into the sun!
- Wear sunscreen indoors: Glass blocks UVB rays, but not UVA rays — the powerful rays used in tanning beds. So wear a broad spectrum sunscreen even when you’re indoors…especially if you sit near a window!
- Eat smart: Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that actually helps protect your skin from the inside out…so eating lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes, watermelon, and papaya can boost your skin’s natural sun tolerance.6
And whatever you do, don’t skip your sunscreen. Skin cancer is the most common cancer out there…and unfortunately, almost half of all Americans get it.2
So wear your sunscreen, a wide brimmed hat, and stay out of the sun during peak UV hours (that’s 10am-2pm).
Sun-safety is the first step to looking and feeling your best — especially as you get older.
Your Beverly Hills MD,
Dr. John Layke
P.S. If you enjoyed this article, please hit “share” to tell your friends and family about it. Health information like this is so important… It could make a HUGE difference for someone you care about!
2 Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics – SkinCancer.org. Skincancer.org. 2016. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts. Accessed June 2, 2016.
3 Yang Y, He S, Wang Q et al. Autophagic UVRAG Promotes UV-Induced Photolesion Repair by Activation of the CRL4DDB2 E3 Ligase. MolCell. 2016;62(4):507-519. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2016.04.014.
4 Ledford H. New Discovery Moves Gene Editing Closer to Use in Humans. Scientific American. 2016. Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-discovery-moves-gene-editing-closer-to-use-in-humans/. Accessed May 28, 2016.
5 Repair (and Even Reverse) Signs of Sun Damage – SkinCancer.org. Skincancer.org. 2016. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/healthy-lifestyle/anti-aging/repair-and-even-reverse-signs-of-sun-damage. Accessed May 27, 2016.
6 Lycopene: antioxidant and sunscreen in one. Smartskincarecom. 2016. Available at: http://www.smartskincare.com/treatments/topical/lycopene.html. Accessed June 3, 2016.