Summer is here and as Jimmy Buffett says: “The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.” A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who diligently use sunscreen every day can slow or even prevent the development of wrinkles and sagging skin. Although dermatologists have long told people to use sunscreen to prevent aging, this is the first research to show an actual effect on the appearance of skin.
The study involved 900 people ages 25 to 55 in Australia, where daily sun exposure is intense. Half of the study participants were told to continue their usual sun protection practices and the other half were told to slather on a broad-spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen daily. Those assigned to use sunscreen had their bottles weighed to make sure they were using it!
After four and a half years, results showed that those assigned to use sunscreen every day had noticeably more resilient and smoother skin. Dr. David R. Bickers, a dermatology professor at Columbia University who was not involved in the research, said “this makes it clear that extensive, consistent use of sunscreen can alter a pattern of what would be an inevitable progression of photo-aging.”
Furthermore, participants agreed to let researchers make silicone cases of their skin at the start and the end of the study to assess how their skin had aged. Assessors, who did not know whether the subjects were using sunscreen or not, examined the lines in the silicone molds and graded them from 0 to 6. A score of 0 meant no photo-aging at all (“like a baby’s skin”) and a person with a score of 6 has severely aged skin with no elasticity and deep lines. At the start of the study, the median score of both groups of subjects was 4, which means they had moderate photo-aging. At the end, those assigned to daily sunscreen use still had a median score of 4 but those in the control group had a median of 5.
So, Central Floridians, start slathering on sunscreen daily in order to prevent skin aging. Let’s show Jimmy Buffett that while the weather will always be here, our skin can stay beautiful!