If you’re one of those people who normally dashes out the door without applying any sunscreen, a new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, may encourage you to start applying sunscreen before you head out. Australian researchers have found that adults who regularly use sunscreen over a 4.5-year period have smoother skin. Researchers say that using sunscreen does more than protect your skin from skin cancer and sunburns; it protects against photoaging, sagging, wrinkling of the skin, loss of elasticity caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays, and spotting.
The study included 903 white adults (ages 25 to 55) who live in the Sunshine coast region in Queensland, Australia. Participants were randomly assigned one of two groups: those who were told to apply sunscreen at their discretion, and those instructed to apply sunscreen on their face and body daily and to reapply after being outside for more than a few hours. The participants were also asked to use broad-spectrum lotions with SPF 15 or higher.
The skin damage was measured on a scale from 1 to 6, with 6 signifying severe skin aging and 1 signifying no damage. The researchers found that adults who applied sunscreen over the 4.5-year period were less likely to show increased signs of skin aging.
Previously, the only scientific evidence for the beneficial effect of sunscreen on wrinkling was in hairless mice, but this is the first study to conclude that sunscreen can reduce skin aging in adults.
To learn more about this study, visit www.annals.org.