(HealthDay News) – Daily sunscreen use can slow skin aging in middle-aged adults, according to a study published in the June 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

To examine the effect of regular sunscreen use on skin aging, Maria Celia B. Hughes, MMedSci, from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues randomized 903 adults aged <55 years (selected from a community register) to one of four groups: daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen and 30mg of β-carotene; daily use of sunscreen and placebo; discretionary sunscreen use and 30mg of β-carotene; and discretionary sunscreen use and placebo. Skin aging was assessed by change in microtopography.

The researchers found that, after 4.5 years, no detectable increase was observed in skin aging in the daily sunscreen group. Compared with the discretionary sunscreen group, skin aging was significantly less from baseline to the end of the trial in the daily sunscreen group (relative odds, 0.76). Supplementation with β-carotene had no overall effect on skin aging, although in subgroups with different severity of aging at baseline, there were contrasting associations.

“Regular sunscreen use retards skin aging in healthy, middle-aged men and women,” the authors write. “No overall effect of β-carotene on skin aging was identified, and further study is required to definitively exclude potential benefit or potential harm.”

The study was partially funded by Ross Cosmetics and Roche Vitamins and Fine Chemicals.

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