Cancer Research UK 'concerned' over skin protection claims

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has played down claims by a nutritional supplement company that its products are able to protect the skin from UV damage.

The supplement, known as Lyc-O-Tan, is claimed to extend the life of a natural suntan and protect skin from damage linked to sun exposure, which can cause skin cancer.

Lyc-O-Tan contains the chemical lycopene, which is naturally found in tomatoes, grapes and pink grapefruit.

"We are concerned that this product could give people false reassurance," said Liz Baker, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK.

"While there a couple of studies that support the idea that lycopene might help reduce the risk of skin cancer there isn?t enough evidence at this stage to be sure,"

"Tanning itself is actually a sign of DNA damage to your skin as a result of UV radiation.

"Our SunSmart campaign encourages people to enjoy the sun sensibly. Our advice is to spend some time in the shade between 11:00am and 3:00pm, to make sure you never burn; to cover up with clothing, a hat and sunglasses; to take extra care of children; and, as a last line of defence, to use a sunscreen of factor 15 or higher."