Posts Tagged ‘sunblock’
Breakthrough research: Why you need to start using sunscreen every day!
We always hear that we need to wear sunscreen every day, however, a new study from Australia proves that the benefits of daily sunscreen use are real and measurable. In this study, they followed 900 fair skinned volunteers who wore sunscreen at least some of the time. The participants were between the ages of 22 and 55 and two thirds of them also wore hats when in the sun. Half of the volunteers were instructed to continue their usual practices and the other half were told to apply sunscreen to their face, neck, arms, and hands every morning.
Skin aging was measured at the beginning of the study with a silicone mold that was applied to the top of the hands. Investigators measured aging by examining the lines in the silicone mold. A grade of zero represented no lines at all (like baby skin) and 6 represented deep grooves and wrinkles.
At baseline both groups had a score of 4. The two groups were re-examined four and a half years later. At the end of the study, the “daily” sunscreen group still had a median score of 4 but the “casual use” sunscreen group had worsened to a median score of 5. That means that in just four and a half short years there was a significant increase in skin aging with “casual sunscreen use”.
This study really emphasizes the importance of daily sunscreen use to all sun exposed areas (face/neck/chest/arms/hands). The results prove that you can actually prevent and delay aging if you use sunscreen every day. What makes this study particularly interesting is that the control group was actually relatively good with sunscreen. Most even wore hats when in the sun so they weren’t extreme sun-worshippers. This study really proves that incidental everyday sun exposure can significantly age your skin in less than five years. In addition, using sunscreen everyday on exposed areas will clearly stop or delay these signs of aging.
Read the tips below to get the most out of your sunscreen and remember to wear sunscreen every day.
1) Apply a penny-sized amount of sunscreen to cover the face.
Studies show that we don’t apply enough sunscreen. One study showed that we often achieve less than half the labeled SPF because we don’t use enough. In other words, an SPF of 30 becomes and SPF of 10 because we don’t apply enough so remember to apply sunscreen liberally to get the best results.
2) Apply sunscreen to your neck and hands.
This study looked specifically looked at aging on the hands. It proved that in less than five years, your hands could age by 20% if you are not applying sunscreen daily. Keep your hands looking young and apply sunscreen every day.
3) Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
This study focused on aging, which is primarily caused by UVA damage. Both UVA and UVB radiation causes skin cancer so make sure your sunscreen contains both UVA and UVB protection.
4) Choose a sunscreen that also contains antioxidants.
Antioxidants make sunscreens work better by preventing free radical damage in the skin. Antioxidants like Emblica and green tea are especially useful because they have also been proven to help with pigmentation. So make sure your sunscreen also contains antioxidants for best results.
A few months ago I wrote about changes that the FDA had proposed to help consumers understand what type of coverage a sunscreen had. I summarized it in my sunscreen blog here.
A quick summary is that UVB causes sunburn and UVA is more associated with early aging. Both cause skin cancer. In 2007, they proposed that sunscreens should display two parameters SPF (which refers to UVB protection) and a 4 star system (to refer to UVA protection). Well, this year, they decided not to use the 4 star system because they thought it would be too complicated for consumers. I didn’t think it was that complicated but I guess they wanted an easier label.
So now sunscreens have 3 new rules:
1) They can no longer claim an SPF higher than 50. This is because the FDA reports that there is no evidence that a sunscreen higher than 50 provides any significant increase in coverage from UVB rays.
2) The term “Broad Spectrum” must be added to indicate that there is also UVA coverage. (No stars are required so we won’t know how much UVA coverage there is.)
3) “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen with an SPF between 15 and 50 can make the following claim on the label: “reduces the risk of skin cancer and premature aging”. Other sunscreens that have an SPF of 2-14 or are not Broad Spectrum can only claim that they help prevent sunburn.
These rules were announced last week and companies that make sunscreens will have until next summer to change the labels. I think this is a good change but I would have loved the 4 star system. Regardless, I think it will make sunscreen labels more clear which is always a good thing.