You don’t have to tell us to SPF-up before stepping out into the sun. Slathering on sunscreen (the natural, non-toxic kind, of course) is an ingrained habit that we know is generally good for us—but a new study makes it measurable, showing that wearing SPF 30 may cut your cancer risk by up to 80 percent.
“Sunscreens are known to prevent skin from burning when exposed to UV sunlight, which is a major risk factor for melanoma,” principal investigator Christin Burd, assistant professor of molecular genetics at The Ohio State University, said in a release. “However, it has not been possible to test whether sunscreens prevent melanoma, because these are generally manufactured as cosmetics and tested in human volunteers or synthetic skin models.”
So, Burd and her team used mice to test the ability of sunscreen to prevent burns and melanoma—and the mice in the study that were given SPF 30 with UV light-blocking agents developed fewer tumors and were less likely to contract melanoma, Fox News reports.
And, bonus: Researchers are now working to identify which ingredients in sunscreen may offer the best protection against melanoma. Smarter sunscreens? Genius. Maybe they can also sync to our smartphones, to remind us to reapply every two hours.