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People will be shocked to see the difference that wearing sun cream can make to your skin

Emma Guinness

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People will be shocked to see the difference that wearing sun cream can make to your skin

Featured Image Credit: Journal of The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Sophie James/Alamy Stock Photo

It's no secret that wearing sun screen is important for the health of your skin, with it preventing painful burns and skin cancers.

And now, the shocking effectiveness of wearing sun cream has been laid bare thanks to a photograph in the Journal of The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

It features the face and neck of a 92-year-old who consistently used UV-protective moisturiser on her face, but she neglected to use it on her neck too.

The picture shows a startling difference between how little the skin on the woman's face has aged compared to her neck.

This is how much sun cream can protect your skin. Credit: C Posch 2021, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
This is how much sun cream can protect your skin. Credit: C Posch 2021, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

The skin is the largest organ in the body and its health is directly affected by our environment, with IFL science reporting that this influences the way in which it ages.

If your skin ages naturally, it's a process known as chronological ageing, but if you are aged by the sun, it is what's known as photoaging.

The latter is sped up by consistent exposure to the sun's UV rays, which damage skin cells, especially those particularly exposed to the light like our face and hands.

But this damage doesn't just age the skin, it can cause cell mutations which can lead to diseases like cancer.

At this point, it's worth noting that consistency really is key and the woman pictured above consistently protected her face from the sun for 40 years.

Dr Christian Posch wrote alongside the image that while skin ageing is not the same as disease, if it is prevented with suncream, the risk of disease will also be lower.

A woman applying sun cream. Credit: Alamy/Science Photo Library
A woman applying sun cream. Credit: Alamy/Science Photo Library

"While it is unlikely that we can (or even should) aim at defeating human ageing for various reasons, modifiers of ageing will still be able to change both healthspan (the time we live without disease) and lifespan," Posch wrote.

"After all, who would not agree to an additional 20–40 healthy years?"

"Such advancements will be realised by a significant reduction of age-related diseases including the prevention of cancers.

"Why? Because there is substantial overlap between the hallmarks of cancer and the hallmarks of ageing. Thus, addressing biological changes of ageing will also address prerequisites of cancerogenesis."

Posch explained that while wearing sun screen can never entirely prevent skin cancer, this picture is a reflection of the fact that it does dramatically reduce the risk.

So the next time it's a hot day, just remember to put cream on your neck too.

Topics: Health

Emma Guinness
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