We know that we preach the gospel of “sunscreen application” pretty much on the daily here at ICLS. Dermatologist Dr. Sapra even uses a SPF of 85 as his everyday moisturizer. We’ve always had a store of good reasons backing us up, but now we have one pretty substantial one to add to our arsenal. A new study suggests that the secret to younger looking skin is as simple as remembering to apply sunscreen every day.
Australian researchers found that people who applied sunscreen daily had fewer wrinkles on their skin than those who did not. In the study, researchers looked at more than 900 Australian adults ages 25 to 55. Half the participants were told to apply sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater to their head, neck, arms, and hands every morning, while the other participants were instructed to use sunscreen whenever they wanted to. At the beginning of the study, the researchers graded, on a six-point scale, the amount of aging seen on the back of one hand of all participants, and then they re-graded the hands 4.5 years later. They found that the adults who were instructed to wear sunscreen daily were 24 percent less likely to see their aging score increase over the study period, compared with those instructed to wear sunscreen whenever they chose. This connection was still valid even after researchers considered other factors that could influence the skin’s appearance, such as a person’s smoking and sun exposure history, skin color, and the use of other sun-protection methods, such as wearing a hat.
The Australian based study was published by in the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine and essentially revealed that sunscreen not only shielded skin from ultraviolet rays, it also protected skin from some visible signs of getting older. More specifically, the study revealed that adults up to age 55 who put on sunscreen more frequently had 24% less skin aging compared with men and women who used it only occasionally. 24%!!?? What we can vaguely remember from our statistics class is that 24% is a pretty good statistic to have on our side. Furthermore, regular sunscreen brings a cosmetic benefit by preventing progressive skin aging, while substantially decreasing the risk of skin cancer in the long-term.
One shocking photo is of Bill McElligott, a truck driver of 28 years. As you can see, one side of his face looks about 68, whereas his “window side” looks to be about 86. It’s scary to see how damaging the sun can be; but the ability to protect our skin with effective sunscreens and free-radical fighters like high-potency topical Vitamin C is exciting and promising!
The study author Dr. Adele Green, a specialist in public health medicine and senior scientist at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia had this to say about the results: “Our findings now provide evidence that regular sunscreen use slows down skin aging in healthy middle-aged men and women.”
Dr. Elizabeth L. Tanzi, a dermatologist and co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C., said, “It’s a well-done study that proves what we as dermatologists have seen in our offices for years — the proper application of sunscreen can slow the signs of skin aging.” Although Tanzi admits the skin aging process can never be stopped completely, she said sunscreen goes a long way to help slow it down. “You can call sunscreen one of the only true ‘anti-aging’ ingredients on the market today,” Tanzi said.
We’re going to be petty just this once and say: WE TOLD YOU SO!