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Year round use of sunscreen may 'reduce aging'

By Tim Sandle     Jun 4, 2013 in Health
A new study suggests that an all year-round use of sunscreen significantly slows the aging of skin caused by the sun's ultraviolet rays.
According to CNN, a research project carried out in Australia has concluded that adults who regularly used broad spectrum sunscreen (designed to protect against both ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays) were less likely to show increased wrinkling.
Wrinkling refers to the effects of 'photoaging'. Photoaging refers to the negative effects on the skin from long-term exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet light.
The study was run over a four-and-a-half-year period using two subject groups (a total of 903 people aged between 25 and 55 years old). In group one, the subjects used the broad spectrum sunscreen and in group two, subjects did not use sunscreen on a regular basis. The sunscreen used was rated at factor 15.
The type and sunscreen factor was an important control variable. Many sunscreens on the market do not protect against both types of UV rays, and the protection factors vary. According to Medical News, only 25% of sunscreen products offer strong and broad UV protection and raise few health concerns.
In the group that did not regularly use sunscreen, the people were allowed to use sunscreen when they wanted to but not on a daily basis.
The stipulation for any participant who used sunscreen was that the sunscreen had to be applied sufficiently thick and in across all of the skin.
The outcome of the study was that the people using daily sunscreen were around 25% less likely to show increased aging compared with the other group. This was once factors relating to gender, age, skin color, occupation, skin cancer history, weight and smoking had been taken into account.
Quoted by CBC Dr. Adele Green of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, who led the study, surmised that "These are meaningful cosmetic benefits."
It should be noted that as well as being supported by the Australian government, the study was also backed by companies with an interest in promoting the sunscreen products: Ross Cosmetics of Australia, and Roche Vitamins and Fine Chemicals of New Jersey.
The study has been published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, in a paper titled "Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging: A Randomized Trial".
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