Melbourne: Researchers have discovered a Vitamin D-like compound that can be put into sunscreens and after-sun lotions to reduce the DNA damage that leads to skin cancer.
Early indications suggest that the compound, which could be on the market in two years, can also cause a reduction in photo-ageing like the wrinkles and dark spots caused by too much sun exposure over a lifetime.
According to Professor Rebecca Mason at Sydney University’s Bosch Institute for Medical Research, studies have found that the Vitamin D-like compound can reduce DNA skin damage by 50 percent and probably by more than 60-80 percent, News.com.au reported.
Her research group has a grant from the Australian Research Council and its commercial partner, Ultraceuticals, to develop the discovery and explore putting it into sunscreen and after-sun products.
Mason said that the find comes as more and more people around the world are not getting enough sun exposure to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D, potentially making them sick.
Vitamin D deficiency is not only linked to poor bone health but also implicated in multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease and depression.
Just 5-10 minutes of sun on the arms is required either mid morning or mid afternoon, while people with darker skin need 15-60 minutes a day.
More sun exposure is required in winter - between 7-30 minutes a day at midday.
Known as the sunshine vitamin because the body makes it when skin is directly exposed to sun, Vitamin D is found naturally in very few foods and also available as a supplement. It helps maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium and is also important for muscle movement, the nervous system and the immune system.
Deficiency of Vitamin D may lead to soft, thin, and brittle bones.