Aug. 17, 2011
Two basic food groups--caffeine and chocolate--may also be useful in preventing sunburn.
Rutgers scientists have published evidence that caffeine guards against certain skin cancers by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin, known as ATR. They believe that it might be feasible to apply caffeine directly to the skin to help prevent damaging UV light from causing skin cancer.
In a separate announcement, Canadian scientists said they will begin a study to determine whether chocolate can prevent sunburn. Previous research in Germany and Britain found that chemicals in chocolate called polyphenols increase blood flow close to the skin, which helps protect against ultraviolet rays, but those studies were too small in scale to be conclusive. The new study will enlist larger numbers of volunteers, who will be fed chocolate and then exposed to UV light in a laboratory, and their skin then checked for sun damage. A control group will be given a placebo. I'd hate to be in the control group and get fake chocolate.