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Mother’s advice was right: sunscreen stops ageing


QIMR Berghofer’s world-first research provides the science behind an oft-quoted beauty tip.

A QIMR Berghofer study has revealed that daily use of broad spectrum sunscreen slows down the ageing process of skin, as well as preventing skin cancer.

The world-first study of 900 young and middle-aged men and women showed that after four and a half years, those who applied sunscreen most days had no detectable ageing of the skin.

They also had 24 per cent less skin ageing than people who used sunscreen only some of the time, if at all.

The study was led by Queensland Australian of the Year, QIMR Berghofer’s Professor Adele Green, AC.

“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,” Professor Green said.

“And the study has shown that up to middle age, it’s not too late to make a difference.”

The research involved half of the participants regularly using SPF15+ sunscreen on their face, arms and hands and the other half using sunscreen in their usual way, if at all.

Silicone impressions, or moulds, were taken from the backs of all participants’ hands at the start and end of the trial to grade the damage over the four and a half years of the study.

The participants were all aged under 55, to ensure that photo-ageing, rather than chronological ageing, was the major factor in skin changes.

“And of course, along with seeking shade and wearing clothing cover, sunscreen is a mainstay of sun protection. It prevents sunburn in the short-term and skin cancer in the long-term”, Professor Green said.

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