Study: Using Sunscreen Daily Could Reverse Sun Damage Effects

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Do you wear sunscreen every single day, all year long?

Here is what some local folks had to say:

“I think it’s a good idea, because the sun can have some very damaging effects to our skin. I will say I don’t do that, even when I go in the sun.”

“Not every day, no, but I do in the summer.”

“I do! I grew up near the beach, so starting to feel those effects of being in the sun so much.”

“I don’t know. I just don’t like the way it feels on my skin.”

“I personally don’t like the smell of sunscreen.”

“I think it’s a great idea. Because the sun is still just as potent in the winter as it is in the summer.”

“Usually, I packed it away with the bathing suits, and just never thought about it.”

Especially during summer, most people think of sunscreen as a way to prevent skin cancer, wrinkles, and other damage from the sun, which can show up as roughness, thickness, along with splotchy pigmentation, and distinct spots in the skin.

But how about reversing that damage? Aggressive options work, but have drawbacks.

“There are ways of helping with sun damage, but usually there are things like chemical peels, laser treatments,” says Dr. Brian Horvath, of Horvath Dermatology. “Involves some redness and down time afterwards.”

How about a kinder, gentler routine?

A study of 33 women, ages 40-55, used daily sunscreen containing avobenzone or oxybenzone on their entire face for a year.

Doctors and the patients themselves rated the skin before and after, and photographs were compared as well.

At the end of the study, participants noticed a 40 to 50 percent improvement in the photodamage.

“Forty percent improvement isn’t a miracle, there’s still sun damage, but it’s significant. People notice a difference in improvement,” says Dr. Horvath. “And while the study went on for a year, people had improvement as early as three months.”

The study was small, and limited to women with fair skin. there was no comparison to placebo, and there is a certain subjectivity to the perception of photodamage. Also, the study was funded by the maker of the sunscreen the participants used.

Despite the study’s shortcomings, this dermatologist hopes the findings encourage a broader use of sunscreen.

“I think it’s just one more way for people to use sunscreen regularly,” says Dr. Horvath.

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