Study Proves Sunscreen’s Effectiveness in Halting Photo-Aging


It’s no surprise that regular application of sunscreen can lower one’s risk for both sunburn and skin cancer, by limiting the skin’s exposure to damaging UVA and UVB rays. However, results of a recent study performed at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research at the University of Queensland in Australia, proves that daily application of sunscreen can also stall skin aging, even for those individuals already in middle age!


A 4-year study of nearly 1,000 men and women was performed to discover whether religious application of sunscreen could make a difference in facial skin aging. A 15 SPF broad spectrum sunscreen was used in the study. One group was instructed to apply the sunscreen every morning after showering or bathing as well as anytime they broke into a sweat, such as when playing tennis, gardening, etc., to insure that they were continuously protected. The second group was instructed to apply their 15 SPF sunscreen whenever they wished.

At the end of four years, the facial skin of participants who applied sunscreen daily showed a 24% reduction in skin aging compared to the group that applied sunscreen on a more laissez-faire schedule. Interestingly, many of those in the “daily” group confessed to having applied sunscreen only about 3-4 times per week, not daily as instructed.

According to Dr. Adele Green, a professor at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research at the University of Queensland in Australia and head of the study group, “It has been a source of frustration for us that for some sections of the community, the sun-safe message does not seem to be getting through. We now know that protecting yourself from skin cancer by using sunscreen has the added bonus of keeping you looking young.”

As a reminder, UVA rays cause wrinkling and skin aging, while UBV rays cause sunburn. Both UVA and UVB rays increase the risk of skin cancer.

If the fear of skin cancer won’t motivate you to apply sunscreen, perhaps staying young-looking will do it! Come into our Austin plastic surgery office and ask us for sunscreen recommendations. We’ll point you in the right direction to both stall aging and decrease your risk for skin cancer.

To your health and beauty,
Patrick D. Combs, MD
James R. Cullington, MD
Brent M. Egeland, MD
Raymond J. Harshbarger, MD
Steven L Henry, MD
Patrick K. Kelley, MD
Sanjay K. Sharma, MD
Adam B. Weinfeld, MD
Aisha D. White, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeons, Austin, TX