The latest hot anti-aging product is neither an expensive cream nor a non-invasive procedure. It’s sunscreen. That’s right – the same sunscreen you can buy in your local grocery store or Target.
Recent research from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia suggests daily sunscreen use delays the signs of aging. Nine hundred and three adults under the age of 55 were randomly placed in one of four groups: 1) daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen with 30 mg of beta-carotene, 2) daily use of sunscreen with placebo, 3) discretionary use of sunscreen with 30 mg of beta-carotene, and 4) discretionary use of sunscreen use with placebo.
After a four and a half year trial, there was no evident increase in skin aging among the two groups using sunscreen daily. Signs of skin aging were 24 percent less the beginning of the trial to the end of the trial in the daily sunscreen groups compared to the discretionary sunscreen groups. Although beta-carotene is believed to promote a healthy skin color and texture, the supplement had no general effect on skin aging.
Dr. Dale Isaacson of DCDermDocs, an award-winning Washington, D.C.-based cosmetic and general dermatology practice, is not surprised by the study’s findings. His patients who use sunscreen religiously have noticeably healthier and more youthful skin.
“People underestimate the power sunscreen,” says Isaacson. “It needs to become a part of your skin regime, regardless of gender, age and race/ethnicity, because everyone is susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer and unnecessary aging.”
Isaacson recommends daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Also known as full-spectrum sunscreen, these sunscreens protect you from the two types of UV lights that harm your skin. UVA rays prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkling and age spots, and UVB rays burn your skin. Over exposure to both puts you at risk for skin cancer.
Dr. Isaacson stresses to his patients that sun protection factor (SPF) is key when choosing a sunscreen and you’re not limited to the choices in the summer suntan lotion aisle of the drugstore. Moisturizers that have SPF are easy to find in the skincare or cosmetics aisle of your favorite grocery or drug store.
“There is always going to be a new product or procedure promising youthful skin,” says Isaacson. “Do yourself a favor and be proactive, so you don’t have to make corrections later on.”