Does Your Sunscreen Prevent Wrinkles?

EliseR on 29 Jun 2011 at 11:30am

The Fourth of July is quickly approaching, which means fireworks, barbeques, and lots of outdoor celebration. But before you bust out the tanning oil to soak up those rays there are a few facts that you should know:

  • Between 90 and 95% of wrinkles are caused by exposure to the sun
  • 1.3 million Americans develop skin cancer each year
  • 1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime (of which 90 percent is caused by the sun)

sunscreens prevent sun damage to your skin


“Preventing wrinkles always involves the use of sunscreen, every day, rain or shine," says San Diego dermatologist Dr. Kimberly Butterwick, when asked how to best maintain youthful looking skin.

Doesn’t sound complicated, right? Why then, do so few people take the extra five minutes to lather up? We don’t know, but we’re hoping that will change as the Food and Drug Administration releases a set of stricter guidelines for sunscreen products. Included in the guidelines (which are to take effect for most companies on June 18, 2012) are regulations that clarify sunscreen labeling and advertising, hopefully paving the way to understanding the benefits of sunscreen for the remaining 67% of people who don’t regularly use it.

Highlights of the new regulations:

  • Products must pass tests for protection against UVB and UVA sunrays before they market themselves as “broad spectrum.”
  • Products that do not sufficiently protect against UVB and UVA rays must display a warning label.
  • Products that pass the broad spectrum tests and are rated SPF 15 or higher may state that they reduce the risks of skin cancer and signs of early aging when used as directed and in combination with other sun-protection measures.

90 percent of Skin Cancer is caused by exposure to the sun


Ultraviolet (or UV) rays come in three varieties: UVA rays, which have long wavelengths and are used in tanning booths, UVB rays, which have shorter wavelengths and are attributed to sunburns, and UVC rays, 

which have no direct effect on human skin. Both UVA and UVB rays are proven culprits of skin cancer, sunspots, and wrinkles.

Though the new requirements are a year away from taking effect, you can still find sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays right now. Neutrogena with HelioPlex and Coppertone are easy-to-find drugstore brands. 

So if you want to prevent wrinkles as you celebrate the Fourth, throw on a hat and hit up the SPF 15+ sunscreen. And don't forget:

“Intentional tanning whether at the beach or in a tanning booth will expedite the aging of your skin.” 
- Dr. John Westine, Florida facial plastic surgeon.

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