Daily sunscreen use slows skin aging - even in middle-age

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Philadelphia, June 4, 2013 -- For the first time, science proves that daily sunscreen use significantly slows skin aging, even in middle-aged men and women. Sunscreen and antioxidants have long been advocated to prevent skin aging, but to date there has been no scientific evidence of their effectiveness.

Researchers measured photoaging of 903 participants younger than 55 to determine whether regular use of sunscreen would slow skin aging compared with discretionary application. At the same time, researchers tested the anti-aging effects of beta-carotene supplements compared to placebo.

Study participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen and 30 mg of beta-carotene supplementation; daily use of sunscreen and placebo; discretionary use of sunscreen and 30 mg of beta-carotene supplementation; and discretionary use of sunscreen and placebo. After four years, participants in the daily sunscreen group showed 24 percent less skin aging than those in the discretionary group. The skin-saving effect of sunscreen was observed in all daily-use participants, regardless of age. No difference in skin aging was shown with daily beta-carotene supplementation compared with placebo.

"This is a good news study because for young and middle aged adults, it's never too late to take care of your skin," said Adele Green, PhD, lead study author and Lab Head at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

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