Millions of people apply sunscreen to their skin every day. The ritual protects against skin cancer, and prevents sunburn as well. A new study conducted by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research at the University of Queensland now reveals that daily application of sunscreen can dramatically reduce the effects of aging skin. This aging process is known as photo-aging. It’s important to note that sunscreen is beneficial even if one starts applying in it middle age.
How to Reduce the Signs of Aging
This new study, which appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine, provides proof that sunscreen helps to slow down the aging process of the skin. The study involved 903 test subjects aged 55 and younger. Researchers examined the skin of those who used sunscreen daily and those that didn’t. This study also included the efficacy of beta-carotene supplements on test subjects to see if this antioxidant could help reduce skin aging.
The researchers randomly placed the study participants into four groups. Group one used sunscreen daily and also took 30 milligrams of beta-carotene. Group two used sunscreen daily and took a placebo pill. Group three used sunscreen whenever they wanted, and also took the 30 milligrams of beta-carotene. Group four used sunscreen and took a placebo.
The participants in group one and two applied sunscreen to their faces, necks, arms and hands every morning, and every time they went outdoor for a few house. The sunscreen they used had an SPF (sun protection factor) of fifteen or higher.
The Results of the Study
After four years, the study concluded that those who used sunscreen daily had slowed the aging process of the skin. This held true for participants in all age groups. The people in groups one and two who applied sunscreen daily showed 24 percent less skin aging than those in groups three and four. However, the researchers did not observe any differences in the skin of those who took the beta-carotene supplements and those who took the placebo.
The head researcher of the study and a professor at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia hopes that this study will encourage people to use sunscreen more often. Not only does sunscreen protect against skin cancer, but also has the additional benefit of keeping people looking younger for longer.
How the Sun Affects the Skin
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that the ultraviolet A (UVA) rays from the sun have long thought to be the cause of wrinkling and aging skin. The ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are the main cause of sunburn in people. Both UVA and UVB rays make people more susceptible to skin cancer.
The Best Sunscreen to Use
Broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays offer the most skin protection and reduce the chances of people getting skin cancer. It is also important to only use sunscreen with SPF higher than fifteen. The FDA now requires sunscreens that have a SPF of less than fifteen to warn people that it only protects against sunburn and not skin cancer or aging.
The researchers hope that this study will result in more people using broad-spectrum sunscreen as part of their skin care routine. By apply sunscreen on a daily basis and starting at a young age, the product not only reduces the signs of aging but also provides protection against skin cancer.