Skin Science: Sunscreen & Anti-Aging

We all know that it’s a good idea to put on sunscreen. Most of us are just trying to keep from getting burned, and at worst . . . developing a nasty little melanoma that might go wonky, turn malignant, and set out to kill us. But there’s more to sunscreen than just protecting against cancer. A recent study shows that using sunscreen can not only slow down the aging process, it can reverse it.

Board Certified Dermatopathologist Dr. Wendy Roberts says sunscreen may be one of the most powerful weapons in the anti-aging battle.

Sunscreen“As we get older, our skin is damaged by the skin’s ultraviolet rays in a process called photoaging,” explains Dr. Roberts. “Experts have always assumed that regular use of sunscreen can protect and improve the look of skin by protecting it against those rays, but this study gives us evidence of that notion.”

SunscreenThe study compared photoaging symptoms in 900 people in Australia over a four-year period. The participants who were assigned to apply sunscreen at least once a day had 24% less photoaging damage. The participants were all under the age of 55, and based in the sunny Australian city of Nambour. The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“The ultraviolet rays we are exposed to every day slowly build up over time to cause wrinkles and other signs of aging,” continues Dr. Roberts. “These rays damage the collagen and other fibers that help keep skin smooth and tight. To protect against photodamage a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 should be used daily.”

*Dr. Wendy Roberts specializes in cosmetic dermatology, generational dermatology, and ethnic skin of color.

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