We all know that sunscreen wards against melanomas, but it can also slow down the ageing process. An Australian scientific study has discovered that people who slip-slop-slap have 24 per cent less skin ageing than people who only use sunscreen occasionally.
Sunscreen picture from Shutterstock
In the first study of its kind, researchers from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) studied the effects of sun exposure on 900 young and middle-aged men and women over four and a half years.
Half of the participants regularly used SPF15+ sunscreen on their face, arms and hands while the other half used sunscreen as they would normally (including not at all). Silicone moulds were taken from the backs of all participants’ hands to grade the damage over the course of the study.
The researchers found that people who applied broad spectrum sunscreen daily had no detectable ageing of the skin. Meanwhile, those who only used sunscreen occasionally showed 24 per cent more skin ageing (based on visible deterioration in skin texture).
“This has been one of those beauty tips you often hear quoted, but for the first time we can back it with science: protecting yourself from skin cancer by using sunscreen regularly has the added bonus of keeping you looking younger,” the research team's leader Professor Adele Green said.
“The study also shows that up to middle age, it’s not too late to make a difference.”
The study concludes that regular sunscreen use by young and middle-aged adults younger than 55 years can retard skin aging, which health bodies would be wise to capitalise on.
"These results have important clinical implications. A reduction in the highly prevalent aging changes among middle aged adults by regular application of sunscreen will therefore be associated with cosmetic benefit (prevention of visible aging changes and hence more youthful appearance) and reduced risk for skin cancer."
Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging: A Randomized Trial [Annals of Internal Medicine]