Sunscreen and skin cancer

Sunscreen has been shown to protect against skin cancer, but it was not established whether it can protect against skin ageing.

Sunscreen has been shown to protect against skin cancer (Photograph: iStock)
Sunscreen has been shown to protect against skin cancer (Photograph: iStock)

Moreover, the assumption that antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, may protect against ageing is unconfirmed.

Researchers in Australia tested whether regular use of sunscreen compared with discretionary use or use of beta-carotene supplements retarded skin ageing compared with placebo, as measured by degree of photoageing.

A total of 903 male and female subjects aged <55 years were assigned to four study groups: daily use of broad-spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen and 30mg of oral beta-carotene; daily use of sunscreen and oral placebo, discretionary use of sunscreen and 30mg of beta-carotene, and discretionary use of sunscreen and oral placebo.

Skin ageing from baseline to the end of the trial was 24% less in the daily sunscreen group than in the discretionary group. However, beta-carotene had no overall effect on skin ageing in the study population.

Hughes MCB, Williams GM, Baker P et al. Ann Intern Med 2013; 158: 781-90


Read these next

Clinical Review: Malignant melanoma

Clinical Review: Malignant melanoma

Early diagnosis of malignant melanoma is crucial because...

Management of chronic actinic dermatitis

Management of chronic actinic dermatitis

Although rare, CAD can have a significant effect on...

Sunscreen advice for winter sports enthusiasts

Adults taking part in outdoor winter sports could benefit...


MIMS Clinics

Prescribing news and resources for key therapeutic areas, collated by the MIMS editors.

Register or Subscribe to MIMS

GPs can get MIMS print & online and GPonline for free when they register online – take 2 minutes, and make sure you get your free MIMS access! If you're not a GP, you can subscribe to MIMS for full access.

Register or subscribe

MIMS bulletins

News and updates straight to your inbox.

Prescribing Update: Fortnightly news bulletin
Alert:
Urgent prescribing updates
Spotlight: Disease-themed monthly round-up

Sign me up

MIMS Dermatology

Read the latest issue online exclusively on MIMS Learning.

Read MIMS Dermatology

Mobile apps

MIMS: access the full drug database and quick-reference tables on the go

MIMS Diagnosis and Management: concise information on signs and symptoms, investigations and diseases

Promo Image

Clinical calculators

Handy calculators and conversions for primary care.