SOURCE: American College of Physicians

American College of Physicians

June 03, 2013 17:05 ET

First of Its Kind Study Released in Annals of Internal Medicine Finds Daily Sunscreen Use 24% More Effective Than Occasional Use to Prevent Skin Aging

Regular Sun Screen Users Had No Detectable Skin Aging Over Four and a Half Year Study

Effects Were Seen in Participants at Young Ages and in Those in Their Forties and Early Fifties

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwired - Jun 3, 2013) - Skin aging is due to the cumulative effect of sun exposure, superimposed on chronological aging and billions of dollars are spent each year on products that promise to treat or protect against it.

Now, the first study of its kind, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, finds that daily use of sunscreen significantly slows skin aging in young and middle-aged men and women. After four and a half years, those who applied sunscreen daily to their skin had no detectable skin aging and had 24% less aging of the skin than those who used sunscreen only some of the time. The results were found for participants in their forties and fifties and for younger participants.

The study also looked at the effect of beta-carotene supplements on skin aging.

The study was conducted in Nambour Australia -- a region known as the Sunshine Coast -- with 903 participants younger than fifty-five. The study was restricted to those under fifty-five because their skin aging is caused primarily by effects of the sun as opposed to getting older. They were randomly assigned to one of four groups those who could use sunscreen when they felt it was necessary and those who were to use it on a daily basis. Participants in both groups either took a daily beta-carotene supplement or placebo.

Participants had molds made of the back of their hands and were graded for aging at the start and end of the study. When the molds were compared researchers saw no increased or progressive aging amongst the people who had used the sunscreen regularly compared with more severe progressive aging in those who didn't use sunscreen on a regular basis.

The study found no benefit to beta-carotene supplements for reducing skin aging, although they could not rule out a small increase or decrease in skin aging as a result of using these supplements.

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