Sunscreen [Representational Image]Wikimedia commons

Young adults who regularly use sunscreen reduce their risk of skin cancer by 40 percent, a study has found.

The global incidence of melanoma continues to increase, however, the main factors that predispose to the development of the skin cancer seem to be connected with recreational exposure to the sun and a history of sunburn. These factors lie within each individual's own responsibility.

Xinhua news agency quoted the study's lead researcher Anne Cust, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney in Australia, as saying:

The association of sun exposure and sunburn with melanoma risk, particularly in childhood, is well established and this study showed that regularly using sunscreen was protective against the harmful effects of sun exposure.

Cust noted that it is still difficult to get people to regularly apply sunscreen, and the likelihood to do so depends on a number of factors.

Young women were found to be using sunscreen more regularly.

Regular users of sunscreen were more likely to be female, younger, of British or northern European ancestry, and have higher education levels, lighter skin pigmentation, and a strong history of blistering sunburn.

The team analysed data of around 1,700 people between 18 to 40 years of age for the study.

"People were less likely to use sunscreen if they were male, older, less educated, or had skin that was darker or more resistant to sunburn," Cust added.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between two and three million non-melanoma skin cancers and 1,32,000 melanoma skin cancers occur each year globally.

"This study confirms that sunscreen is an effective form of sun protection and reduces the risk of developing melanoma as a young adult," Cust said.