Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and nearly one out of every three cancers diagnosed happen to be related to the skin. What is all the more alarming is that 73% of people with fair skin who are at most risk of sunburn & skin cancer admit they still get sunburnt despite almost two thirds worrying it could lead to skin cancer.
Chronic exposure to sunlight is the cause of nearly all types of skin cancer occurring in sun exposed parts of the human body - the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back. Some additional causes could be exposure to radiation, contact with carcinogenic chemicals, complications of burns, scars, vaccinations, or even tattoos.
Thanks to the eye opening advertisements and the increasing awareness regarding sun screens. However, it has now been argued that a critical evaluation of immune protection factor in sunscreens and its relation to sun protection factor would be would be more appropriate with respect to skin cancer prevention.
With this motive, studies have been conducted addressing the problems associated with the evaluation of IPF of sunscreens, different techniques for the assessment of IPF in human skin, and proposals regarding the development of standard techniques for IPF assessment.
A number of sunscreens were tested using variable methods on human volunteers from different countries to establish a standard method for determining IPF.
The results of the study have proved to be inconclusive. The relationship between a sunscreen's SPF and its ability to protect against immunosuppression has not been documented. A sunscreen with high SPF but a low protection against immunosuppression, or IPF, could in fact increase skin cancer risk and vice versa.
Considerable progress has to be made before standardization of qualities for an ideal skin protectant rather an immunoprotectant will be arrived at.