We all know that sunscreen protects skin from the damaging effects of the sun, but, the results of a new study show another huge benefit to wearing it, and we were totally surprised when we learned what it was.
A new study conducted by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., published this month in Dermatologic Surgery, reveals that not only does your daily dose of SPF help prevent damage from harmful UV rays, but it also actually helps erase signs of photoaging that already exist, like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Until now, this benefit of sunscreen has hardly been investigated.
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In the study, a group of 32 women (ages 40–55) applied a moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen to their entire face every day for a year, and underwent dermatologist evaluations at baseline, and then again at weeks 12, 24 and 36. According to director of dermatology and dermatologic surgery for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Steven Q. Wang, who assisted in the study, at week 52, it was determined that skin texture, clarity and pigmentation were improved 40–52 percent from baseline. All participants showed improvement in skin texture and clarity.
If you’re thinking, maybe the moisturizer played a role in minimizing these signs of aging (my first thought), it’s not the case. “Moisturizer is very important as any part of a daily skin care regimen, however, the moisturizer in this study has no anti-aging ingredients,” says Dr. Wang. “The subjects applied sunscreen daily and a nighttime moisturizer without anti-aging ingredients, and they were advised to avoid excessive sun exposure. They were provided recreational sunscreens for active use.”
The “theory” as to how this is possible, as Dr. Wang states, is that “Sunscreen is effective in preventing ongoing UV-induced photo damage, which in turns gives the skin a chance to regenerate and heal.” So while skin is healing, signs of aging are able to be minimized.
“This is great research and exciting news!” says New York dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. “This study highlights what dermatologists have been saying all along: Protecting your skin can help you look younger. UV radiation damages skin through multiple pathways to cause fine lines, wrinkles and dyschromia (discoloration). If you block the effects of the sun on your skin, you mitigate these undesirable outcomes. Similar studies have been done in the past, but this one is great because it shows the benefit of wearing daily sunscreen in just one year. Very compelling information!”
So if you’ve always been one of those people who don’t think they need sunscreen because they “don’t burn,” you might be more inclined to wear it now.