A recent interesting study from Australia looked at the potential benefit from sunscreen, by asking whether use in childhood or early adulthood reduces the future risk of melanoma. This was a case-control study looking at over 600 patients who regularly used sunscreen in the Australian Melanoma Family Study comparison to a larger control group outside the study.
The main finding of this research is that regular sunscreen use is associated with a reduced risk of melanoma in young adults who regularly use sunscreen.
A previous randomised trial from Australia demonstrated a major reduction in melanoma in people using daily sunscreen compared to discretionary use (11 melanomas in those using daily sunscreen compared to 22 in those using is at their discretion) aged 22-75 years old.
Taken together with other population-based studies – which examine what happens in real-world conditions – there is quality evidence that appropriate use of sunscreen may prevent the development of melanoma.
There are many good sources of melanoma advice regarding sunscreen including the British Association of Dermatology and Melanoma UK