Is coffee a health elixir or an addictive toxin? The evidence goes both ways. But a study from Rutgers University now casts another vote for the health benefits of coffee. It finds that in addition to drinking that morning cup, you may even want to bathe in some coffee as a way of preventing harmful sun damage or skin cancer.
The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, supports the theory that caffeine guards against certain skin cancers at the molecular level by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin known as ATR. Based on lab experiments on mice, scientists think caffeine applied directly to the skin might help prevent damaging UV light from causing skin cancer.
Because coffee contains antioxidants (and is probably the greatest source of antioxidants in the standard American diet), it was previously associated with reduced cancer risk. Prior research indicated that mice fed caffeinated water and exposed to UVB radiation (which damaged the DNA in their skin cells) were able to kill off a greater percentage of their badly damaged cells and reduce the risk of cells becoming cancerous.