Caffeinated beverages are an irreplaceable staple to many American morning routines. A new study performed by researchers from Rutgers and the University of Washington suggests that topical caffeine application could reduce the risk of developing melanoma.
According to the National Cancer Institute, skin cancer remains the most prevalent form of cancer in the U.S. with a whopping one million new cases diagnosed annually. This fact, coupled with the unsightly cosmetic effects photoaging can have on the skin and its texture and the millions of dollars spent by Americans on treatments like laser skin resurfacing, Foto Facial® treatment, and chemical peels to reduce the appearance of photo damage, make it no surprise then that this study is not the first of its kind.
Previous studies of this sort have indicated that mice that were fed caffeinated water and exposed to UVB radiation producing lamps were better able to dispose of damaged, potentially cancerous skin cells that developed whereas mice fed regular water were not. Instead of feeding mice caffeine, this study used mice whose genes had been altered to inhibit an enzyme within the skin called ATR. By genetically modifying the mice the scientists were, in effect, using the modification as a skin cancer prevention method much in the same way patients can use sunscreen to act on the UVA and UVB rays to which they’re exposed. The modified mice group and a group of unmodified mice were exposed to equal hours of UVB waves. The modified mice developed 69% fewer tumors than the unmodified group.
The study did recognize that there is still a need for further investigation regarding the way in which caffeinated beverages prevent skin cancer, but that a correlation did in fact exist. Until further investigation can be completed and causation determined, the team of board certified dermatologists at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta urges all of their patients to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before any sun exposure. Additionally, patients should schedule their annual skin cancer body check during which the skillful eyes of a skin care professional can examine any suspicious areas for the presence of skin cancer or pre-cancerous spots (actinic keratosis) not yet visible to the untrained eye.
To learn more about the skin cancer treatment, skin cancer diagnosis, and cosmetic photo damage treatment available at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta or any of our skin care specialty centers be sure to visit our website and continue to read our blog.