Sunscreen not only guards against skin cancer but it also fights wrinkles
A new Australian study has found daily use of sunscreen significantly slows the aging of skin caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays – something that may encourage even the most dedicated sun-worshipers to use cream.
This has been one of those beauty tips you often hear quoted, but for the first time we can back it with science. Protecting yourself from skin cancer by using sunscreen regularly has the added bonus of keeping you looking younger.
The study found that adults who regularly applied broad spectrum sunscreen – which protects against both ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays – over a four-and-a-half year period had no detectable aging of the skin.
They also had 24 per cent less skin aging than people who used sunscreen less frequently, according to study. The randomised, controlled trial, is the first study of its kind. Previously, the only scientific evidence for the beneficial effects of sunscreen on wrinkling was in hairless mice.
The researchers randomly assigned 903 adults, ages 25-55, to use SPF15+ every day on their face, arms and hands with frequent reapplications or to use sunscreen at their discretion.
Silicone impressions, or molds, were taken from the backs of all participants’ hands at the start and end of the trial to grade the damage over the four-and-a-half years of the study. The adults were all aged under 55 to ensure the changes noted were primarily due to photo-ageing rather than chronological aging.
The researchers found those using daily sunscreen were 24 per cent less likely to show increased wrinkling over the period.
Regardless of sex, age, skin color, occupation, skin cancer history, weight and smoking, everyone benefited from daily sunscreen use. The study even showed that up to middle age, it’s not too late to make a difference.
Any sunscreen stronger than SPF15+ might have had only a marginal additional effect, as SPF15+ blocks about 94 percent of ultraviolet B rays, which are responsible for sunburn, while one with an SPF of 40 filters about 97.5 percent.
The more important issue is applying the sunscreen well and reapplying it often.
The sunscreen has to be applied thick enough and in all areas to be effective. It is recommended to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 20 or 30 and reapplying every two hours and after sweating or bathing. You have to protect yourself against both UVA and UVB, so look for a sunscreen labelled broad spectrum.