In addition to its documented help in preventing skin cancer, it turns out that sunscreen has an aesthetic quality as well: used daily, it can diminish the appearance of wrinkles by 24 percent.
In a study of 900 young and middle-aged men and women spanning nearly five years, Australian researchers discovered no detectable skin aging in those who applied sunscreen daily, as opposed to the appearance of sun-induced wrinkles among those who didn’t.
Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical research divided the study population into two groups, with the first applying SPF15+ sunscreen every day on their faces, necks, hands and arms. The second group used sunscreen either rarely, or not at all. In all, the test period stretched over four and-a-half years.
The study didn’t involve those over the age of 55, in order to ensure that any appearance of aging could be attributed more to environmental factors (like sun exposure) than to the onset of genetics-related aging.
In order to gauge the appearance of wrinkles over time, the study even had Silicone impressions taken from the backs of all participants’ hands, both at the beginning and the end of the trial.
Once the results were measured, the research reflected a difference of 24 percent in the appearance of wrinkles between the two groups.
“This has been one of those beauty tips you often hear quoted, but for the first time we can back it with science: protecting yourself from skin cancer by using sunscreen regularly has the added bonus of keeping you looking younger,” said Professor Adele Green of the Queensland Institute. “And the study has shown that up to middle age, it’s not too late to make a difference.”