Here's a revelation that won't shock anyone: sunscreen is important for your health. In an age when skin cancer diagnosis have reached staggering heights-the American Cancer Society estimates that over 76,000 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the US this year alone. If that doesn't motivate you, then consider vanity. Dermatologists and mothers alike will tell you that sunscreen is the best way to prevent wrinkles, sunspots, and general redness.
Wait, we have an update: Sunscreen may not just prevent new damage-it may actually roll back sun damage you already have.
According to a new study conducted by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. and published this month in Dermatologic Surgery, not only does wearing a daily SPF fend off wrinkle-causing UV damage, it can actually help erase signs of aging. Researchers asked a group of 32 subjects to apply a moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen (the minimum protection recommended by derms) to their faces every single day for a year, then checked in every few weeks to assess issues like skin texture, clarity, and pigmentation problems (think sun spots and uneven coloration). After the full 52 weeks, what they found was that, with no other anti-aging products in the mix, most of the participants noticed a significant improvement in their skin.
The biggest winners here were in those suffering from mottled pigmentation, who got a 52 percent bump in complexion evenness, as well as those reporting visible wrinkles, 68 percent of whom reported fewer lines by the end of the study.
So what kind of magic was this SPF working? "This study suggests that not only does sunscreen have a preventative effect on aging, likely the length of sunscreen use in this study allowed the skin's natural reparative systems to function optimally, thus reversing some signs of photoaging," says California dermatologist Annie Chiu.
Think of it like putting a bandage on over a cut-the bandage itself doesn't make you heal, it just keeps your exposed spots protected while they work on healing themselves. "We know the skin cells have natural repair mechanisms to reverse photodamage, this study demonstrates that use of daily sunscreen may allow these repair mechanisms to essentially get 'ahead" and actually reverse accumulated prior photodamage," Chiu explains.
Of course, Chiu notes, sunscreen may not be the lone factor at play in these skin health transformations, since regular moisturization (you know, the kind you get from applying an SPF moisturizer every day for a year) is also known to help improve the appearance of fine lines. Still, these findings underscore the value of keeping a broad-spectrum protector in your daily rotation. "Certainly this study further solidifies that to slow down wrinkle formation, use of a photostable SPF 30 or greater is a vital part of a complete skincare regimen," says Chiu. Think of it as an investment in all the anti-aging products you won't need.
You Might Also Like