New research offers convincing proof that daily sunscreen use can slow the signs of aging and protect against cancer to boot. Wait. Daily?
Yes, every day, the whole year round. Of those who took part in the years-long research and were assigned to use sunscreen daily -- and presumably said in earnest, "Yes, we'll rub this on every single day" -- most of them cheated.
The researchers knew that because they periodically weighed the bottles of sunscreen. The team said that about three-quarters of those assigned to use sunscreen daily actually applied it three to four days a week, according to the Associated Press.
The research was done in Australia, skin cancer capital of the world. According to Australian government stats, the continent has the highest rate of skin cancer on the planet, with two out of three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.
Even with those kinds of odds, it's apparently hard to get into the sunscreen habit. But the research shows it's worth it.
As the Los Angeles Times reported Monday, scientists from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and other institutions divided 903 Australians 55 years old and younger into groups who used sunscreen daily -- rubbing it on face, neck, arms and hands -- and those who used sunscreen when they felt they needed it. The first group (theoretically) put on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every morning, as well as after swimming or sweating heavily and after a few hours in the sun.
After 4½ years, members of the first group were 24% less likely to show signs of increased aging, the scientists wrote. Just think what the results would have been if all participants had been religious in their sunscreen application.
"These are meaningful cosmetic benefits," lead scientist Dr. Adele Green told the AP.
And even the middle-aged and those with moderate skin aging benefited from sunscreen use, the scientists said. It didn't matter how much aging had already occurred, the researchers said, but whether a liberal dose of sunscreen was used.So now we have new incentive to get out that sunscreen and slather it on. Spring, summer, winter and fall.