Sprawled on a sunny beach while on vacation, the last thing most

Sprawled on a sunny beach while on vacation, the last thing most people want is a steaming cup of coffee. But according to a new study by UW researchers, that’s exactly what they should drink to help prevent skin cancer.The scientists, who partnered with a team from Rutgers University in New Jersey, found that caffeine decreases levels of an enzyme called ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related, or ATR, which in turn decreases one’s risk of getting non-melanoma skin cancer.A reduction in ATR was associated with 69 percent fewer tumors overall, and four times fewer invasive tumors. So far, they’ve only tested mice, but hope to conduct a human study in the near future. The research goes back a decade, with original efforts focusing on whether green or black tea reduced skin cancer in mice. Caffeinated versions of both teas proved effective, while decaffeinated types did not.A topical solution of caffeine, applied directly on the mice, also resulted in 72 percent fewer cases of squamos cell carcinomas, a type of skin cancer. Some companies are taking notice and beginning to incorporate caffeine into their sunscreens. Fourth on a lenghty list of ingredients for SkinMedica’s Environmental Defense Sunscreen, which costs $40 for a three-ounce tube, is caffeine. Starbucks, take notice.