Wearing Sunscreen Every Day Can Make You Look Younger, Longer

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Dermatologists have long prodded their patients to apply more sunscreen, claiming it not only protects against skin cancer, but aging as well. Now there’s evidence to prove it.

In a new study, Australian researchers report that people who apply sunscreen everyday show 24% less skin aging compared to participants who only used sunscreen part of the time. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at  900 people under 55 and discovered those regularly using sunscreen were less likely to have increased skin aging after 4.5 years — even those in middle age.

“Those who even had a good amount of sun damage had an improvement in the aging of the skin,” says Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and clinical associate professor at NYU Langone Medical School who was not associated with the study. “As dermatologists, we have been saying for years and years, use SPF every day all year round. I always say, if you don’t need a flashlight to see outside, you need protection.”

(MORE: FDA Sunscreen guidelines delayed)

The study comes out just in time for summer and coincides with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new sunscreen regulations. After a few delays, major manufacturers are now required to distinguish between which brands and products can be labeled “broad spectrum,” meaning they protect against both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. The new guidelines also mandate that products include directions to reapply regularly and prohibit brands from claiming on their labels that their sunscreens are sweatproof or waterproof.

The new regulations were highly anticipated and arguably long overdue. The European Commission started requiring these label changes in 2007. It’s a major move in the right direction for American skin protection, since skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. But the new requirements are far from perfect.

(MORE: Sunburn and Indoor Tanning Still Putting Young People at Risk for Skin Cancer)

For instance, the FDA has yet to follow Europe’s lead and cap the SPF value at 50+ for sunscreen products. In June 2011, the agency proposed a regulation to require any products with SPF values higher than 50 to be labeled as “50+.” The FDA has acknowledged that there is not adequate data to show products with SPF higher than 50 provide any additional protection compared to products with lower SPF values. There is also an ongoing call for more data to determine the safety and efficacy of spray sunscreens.

Some critics believe the FDA takes too long to approve sunscreen ingredients. In Europe, sunscreen manufacturers may incorporate 27 different ingredients, but in the U.S., there are only 16 approved ingredients.

Dermatologists remember how long it took L’Oreal to get an application approved to use Mexoryl SX. “Getting Mexoryl approved here took years even though it was approved in Europe and in France,” says Day. “Getting it approved in America was a whole process and people were bootlegging it. It created an aura that it was so much better.”

Currently, eight sunscreen ingredient applications are pending with the FDA, with some up to 10 years in backlog. In the video below, California Representative Sam Farr questions FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in April on why it is taking so long.

The issue is partly because the FDA is stringent, which is a good thing. But bureaucracy also plays a significant role. The ingredient petition applications were filed through the FDA’s Time and Extent Application (TEA) process, which was implemented in 2002 to address gaps in the approval processes for new over-the-counter (OTC) products that were not covered by the existing OTC Drug Monographs, which are akin to a recipe book of acceptable ingredients, doses, labels and formulations. The TEA pathway is intended to be an approval process for OTC drugs whose safety has been determined by a minimum of five years of use. The FDA can also request additional data on safety and effectiveness in an attempt to prevent potential allergic reactions or skin sensitivities. The multiple steps mean the approval process is hardly a quick turnaround.

(MORE: Some Skin Cancer Patients Still Use Tanning Beds)

That being said, current ingredients used in the U.S. are effective. The stricter regulations are largely intended to keep brands from making false claims. “The FDA has done a good job at simplifying how you understand what the sunscreen does,” says Day.

Perhaps they’ve done too good of a job. Day worries that the strict parameters may discourage manufacturers from continuing to refine their products and develop new ones.

There may be more options for sunscreen one day, but right now we’re best off slathering on the products that exist. The latest research shows that sunscreen guards against both skin damage and aging. Used in tandem with other protective behaviors like wearing clothing with coverage and spending time in the shade, it can help keep skin healthy.

14 comments
john089.wensil
john089.wensil

Sunscreen are very important for the skin to remain healthy and always glowing. Australian researchers report that people who apply sunscreen everyday show 24% less skin aging compared to participants who only used sunscreen part of the time. Sunscreen are not responsible for cancer and all these are myths only.



galaxykid2000
galaxykid2000

When sunscreen was invented skin cancer went threw the roof! Sunscreen causes cancer and the hospitals will whipe chemo therapy all over your skin like psychopaths! chemo kills 1 in 4 people immediately upon injection! M.D's are psychopaths! Doctors are Evil and most should be thrown in jail for Manslaughter! 

hummingbird
hummingbird

I'm sure sunscreen products will fly off the shelves now in our society that's obsessed with looking young. Life is a cycle and we can't stay or look young forever. I never use sunscreen and I won't start using it now. Some hats and sunglasses have worked well for me along with all that melanin.

kuei12
kuei12

Wearing a space suit everyday will help you look younger, longer that using sunscreen.

villandra24
villandra24

The sun has been around longer than our planet has.  Deal with it.  Honestly!   You d think that before the mid 1980's, everyone dissolved into dust from sunlight before age 30!

villandra24
villandra24

http://allergies.about.com/od/contactdermatitis/a/sunscreens.htm

  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-signs-of-a-sunscreen-allergy.htm


I was using Neutrogena SPF 30 face lotion.   The side of my face that got hit by direct sun when I rode to a store two miles away and back, turned beet red, developed a crusted layer similar to a chemical burn, and sloughed off.   In increasing numbers of people, the main chemical in sunscreen reacts with sunlight to form a caustic chemical.  

villandra24
villandra24

I USED to use sunscreen.  Guess how it left my face looking.   Badly burned, beet red, and peeling.   It seems an increasing number of people are allergic to the main ingredient.


Go jump in the lake!  We've lived with sunlight for millions of years.

qwiksilverx1
qwiksilverx1

Problem with most sunscreens is the burning eyes effect.  You can put it on your face, but not above the level of your eyes and no where near the crows feet area.  Another way to look younger?  The same thing great grandma used: hat's, parasols/umbrellas and gloves.  Your goth kids will also look younger, they never go out in daylight.  Those who have embraced the pale look will always look 10 years younger than their sun worshiping counterparts.  I always get "You're 50 somthing?! Wow!"

Jetstar99999
Jetstar99999

Annals of Internal Medicine? A lot of this is about selling chemicals

Jetstar99999
Jetstar99999

by  blocking UV? is that what this is about or some other chemical reaction? better than a wide brim hat? The study is very confusing?

obviously chemicals ALSO  have risks, where is the info on that?

debunk
debunk

Sunscreen has been linked to an increase risk of skin cancer. Seems the author seemed to forgot to mention this. A deceptive title line to give readers that are aging, a 'feel good' tease. And nowhere in the article does she mention the studies that have verified the risks of sunscreen. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507131951.htm

SunsafeRx
SunsafeRx

There is now also a pill that protects your skin from the sun. You have to protect yourself from sun exposure if you want to stay looking young; the sun ages your skin more than anything else. Yet there is quite a bit of information saying sunscreen lotions may not be good for you. An alternative is Sunsafe Rx - a nutritional supplement. You just take one capsule before sun exposure; the antioxidants in Sunsafe Rx have been clinically shown to protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Plus it's healthy and good for the complexion of your skin! www.SunsafeRx.com

MashkaNY
MashkaNY

Thank you for the link. Now I remember why all sunscreens I bought last summer do not have Zinc Oxide.

Jetstar99999
Jetstar99999

@debunk the study is ab

out supporting an industry that sells harmful chemicals