While we have been seeing the positive effects of sunscreen in our office for years, there is now a study that proves sunscreen can actually keep your skin looking young! In addition to helping to prevent some skin cancers, broad-spectrum sunscreens have now been proven to keep your skin looking smooth and wrinkle-free. A study from Australia compared the skin of people who applied a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day to the skin of those people who received no instruction for how to apply their sunscreen. The people who applied sunscreen daily were found to be less likely to have increased skin aging after 4.5 years. This study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, proves what we have been telling our patients all along – that daily sunscreen use helps to protect against the development of fine lines and brown spots from the sun.
When choosing a sunscreen, it is important to choose one that is labeled “broad-spectrum.” This means that the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. By protecting against both UVA and UVB rays, you are protecting against both the development of skin cancers related to sun exposure and the development of cosmetic damage to the skin. Sunscreen should be applied thirty minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied every two hours. Additionally, it is important to avoid direct sun exposure during the midday hours and to wear sun protective clothing (and a hat!) whenever possible.