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Daily Sunscreen Use Prevents Skin Aging

Daily sunscreen use greatly reduces skin aging, even in middle-aged men and women, according to new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Sunscreen and antioxidants have historically been shown to prevent skin aging, however, there has been no scientific evidence of their effectiveness.

The current study calculated *photoaging of 903 subjects aged younger than 55 from Australia in order to find out whether regular use of sunscreen could slow skin aging compared with voluntary application.

*Photoaging refers to the negative effects on the skin from long-term exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet light.

Photoaging is linked to:◾coarser and loose skin
◾increased wrinkling and dryness
◾elevated visible small blood vessels
◾whiteheads and blackheads on the face
The participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen and 30 mg of beta-carotene supplementation; daily use of sunscreen and placebo; voluntary use of sunscreen and 30 mg of beta-carotene supplementation; and voluntary use of sunscreen and placebo.

Their skin was examined at the beginning and end of the study. After four years, participants in the daily sunscreen group showed 24% less skin aging than those in the voluntary application group.

The skin-saving effect of sunscreen was seen in all daily-use participants, no matter what age they were. No variations in skin aging was shown with daily beta-carotene supplementation compared with placebo.

Compared with voluntary sunscreen users, those assigned to daily sunscreen use were 24% less likely to exhibit increased aging. At the start of the study, 58% of the subjects had moderate photoaging, while at the end that number fell by 49%, revealing a reduction in photoaging in some participants.

No difference was exhibited among those taking the carotene supplement and those taking the placebo. However, the authors suggest that does not rule out a small increase or decrease in skin aging as a result of a carotene supplementation.

Also, an increase in photoaging was notably linked to a higher risk of actinic keratoses (thick patches of skin) and skin cancer. Applying daily sunscreen can prevent cosmetic changes, and can reduce the risk of developing skin cancer as well.

Adele Green, PhD, lead study author and Lab Head at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research said:

“This is a good news study because for young and middle aged adults, it’s never too late to take care of your skin.”

A study conducted just last month suggested that only 25% of sunscreens offer strong protection.

Written by Kelly Fitzgerald

Copyright: Medical News Today

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