Summer’s here, and with it comes beach days, outdoor barbecues, and a whole lot of exposed skin. We all know that using sunscreen can decrease your risk of cancer by blocking the UV rays that cause melanoma and other cancers.
But did you know that consistent sunscreen use also has significant beauty benefits?
A new study by Australian scientists shows that daily or near-daily sunscreen application can significantly slow the aging process. No cancer and no wrinkles? Maybe it’s time to shield your skin and reach for the self-tanning lotion instead.
Hands-On Method to Sunscreen Study
In order to measure tangible effects of daily sunscreen use, the 900 study participants had casts made of the top of their hands, showing their pores, fine lines, spots and wrinkles in great detail. People of all walks of life participated, from college-aged to middle-aged.
Four and a half years later, scientists compared the appearance of those who used sunscreen daily versus those who used it only whenever they felt it was necessary, such as when wearing a swimsuit. The results were extraordinary — even with occasional cheat days, those who used the sunscreen consistently showed 24% less signs of aging.
Additionally, this study was linked to a longer 10-year study examining overall cancer risks as they relate to sunscreen use. That study, too, concluded that regular use of sunscreen decreases the risk of all cancers, not just melanoma.
A Sunnier Outlook for Regular Sunscreen Users
Normally, most of us don’t think to apply sunscreen for everyday activities like walking to work or visiting an outdoor market. Dermatologists and medical professionals across the world hope that this study, and others like it, will continue to change peoples’ view on the necessity of sunscreen.
An emphasis on the beauty benefits may be the way to promote great sunscreen use, spearheaded by an influx of women’s makeup products containing SPF.
Says San Francisco professor of dermatology Dr. Richard Glogau:
Regular use of sunscreen [in the study] had an unquestionable protective effect. [People] can get a two-for-one with sunscreen. They can do something that will keep them healthier and also keep them better-looking…it’s never too late.
When sunscreen blocks UV rays, it’s not only helping to prevent the growth and spread of various cancers — it’s also protecting overall skin tone and health. Elastic fibers in the skin are negatively affected by UV rays, and damaging them can lead to the telltale sagging and discolorations that often show up for tanning addicts.
Don’t want premature wrinkles? Slather on the sunscreen and you’re on your way to smoother, stronger skin!
How to Max Out the Benefits of Your Sunscreen
The FDA now advises sun-lovers to use “broad-spectrum” sunscreens, which provide protection against sunburns (UV-B rays) and skin damage and carcinogenic developments (UV-A rays).
Make sure to coat your kids with sunscreen too — skin is particularly susceptible to all three risks in childhood.
You should also limit your UV exposure between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun is strongest.
If possible, bring a wide-brimmed hat or other protective clothing to put additional barriers between your skin and those rays.
So what’s your favorite sunscreen? Do you have any experience with sun damage? Share it with us in the comments.