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Olive oil and skin cancer

LONDON (Reuters) - Virgin olive oil applied to the skin after sunbathing could protect against skin cancer, New Scientist magazine said Wednesday. Olive oil isn't a sunscreen. But researchers claim that rubbing on olive oil after sunbathing could help protect skin from UV (ultraviolet) damage. Research leader Masamitsu Ichihashi and his team tested the oil on hairless mice undergoing three weekly sunlamp sessions.

"Ultraviolet radiation in sunlight creates free radicals which damage DNA in skin celIs and trigger abnormal growth, often leading to skin cancer", said the magazine. "Antioxidants such as vitamin E mop up these radicals and are thought to protect against UV damage", New Scientist said, adding that olive oil is a potent source of antioxidants.

J Dermatology Sci 2000 Mar;23 Suppl 1 :S45-50. Preventive effect of antioxidant on ultraviolet-induced skin cancer in mice.