Everyone by now knows the value of using sunscreens in lowering the risk of getting skin cancer. By decreasing the amount and duration of ultraviolet light skin exposure, the skin cells have more time to repair themselves and less chance of permanently damaging the natural healing mechanisms of the cell’s structure. In addition, it has now been proven that sunscreens also result in less skin aging and less skin wrinkles over time. In the June issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, a study out of Australia (a country that really knows about sun exposure) reported on the effects of the use of sunscreen in over 900 fair-skinned people under age 55. They either used SPF15 sunscreen daily or only as they desired. The group that used daily sunscreen showed little increase in skin aging after nearly five years compared to the group that used it on a more discretionary basis. These findings are really no surprise in that skin aging and wrinkle development is known to be the result of irreversible cellular damage of the elastin fibers and decreased collagen production from ultraviolet irradiation. Decreasing the risk of skin cancer and slowing down the visible signs of skin aging are the direct result of blocking UV rays. This is why many modern skin moisturizers and even makeups contain UVA and UVB protection.
Dr. Barry Eppley