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Daily Sunscreen Prevents Middle-Aged Skin from Aging Over 4.5 Years

They used sunscreen with just a protection factors of 15+ but used it daily

June 4, 2013 – How would you like to say your skin has not aged a day in four and a half years? That’s what some middle-aged Aussies can say, after they participated in a study using sun screen daily.

The researchers conclude that those in the study who used sunscreen daily showed no detectable increase in skin aging over 4.5 years.

Those in the study were younger than 55 and were randomly assigned to a group asked to apply sun-protection factor 15+ sunscreen to their head, neck, arms, and hands each morning and after bathing, after spending more than a few hours in the sun, or after sweating heavily or to a group asked to use sunscreen at their discretion.

Participants were also randomly assigned to receive daily β-carotene or placebo pills. Impressions were taken of the backs of participants’ hands at the beginning of the study and 4.5 years later. The impressions were examined for microscopic changes of skin aging by assessors who did not know to which study groups the participants had been assigned.

The goal was to determine whether regular use of sunscreen compared with discretionary use or β-carotene supplements compared with placebo retard skin aging

Those using sunscreen daily reduced their aging by 24 percent over the discretionary group using sunscreen and placebo.


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The study in Nambour, Australia (latitude 26° S) concluded regular sunscreen use retards skin aging in healthy, middle-aged men and women. No overall effect of β-carotene on skin aging was identified but, they wrote, “further study is required to definitively exclude potential benefit or potential harm.”

They also noted, “Some outcome data were missing, and power to detect moderate treatment effects was modest.”

They study, “Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging: A Randomized Trial”, appears today in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It was written by researchers  Maria Celia B. Hughes, MMedSci; Gail M. Williams, PhD; Peter Baker, PhD; and Adèle C. Green, MBBS, PhD.

Primary funding of the study was provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

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