• Ask the Doctors: Can Sunscreen Prevent Wrinkles?

    Sunday, May 19th, 2024

    by John Smoot, M.D., Wendell Smoot, M.D., Carol Hollan, M.D. and Reza Sadrian, M.D.


    How to prevent premature aging of the skin is a topic of great interest to many of our patients. We offer the following guidance for wearing sunscreen to protect the skin:

    Question: Is it really necessary to wear sunscreen every day?

    Answer: Yes. Applying sunscreen every day, particularly during the summer months, can make a significant difference in preventing wrinkles.

    It’s easy to forget to put on sunscreen lotion from time to time, but a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that daily applications of sunscreen can make a significant difference in the appearance of your skin.

    Researchers assembled a group of individuals under the age of 55 and had them apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to their arms, hands, neck and face every morning after bathing, after spending more than a few hours in direct sunlight, or after perspiring heavily.

    Another group was asked to apply sunscreen “at their discretion.” To act as a control group, some participants were given placebo pills or daily B-carotene supplements on a daily basis.

    These researchers took impressions of the back of the participants’ hands at the beginning of the study and again 4 ½ years later. The impressions showed microscopic changes in the skin, including signs of aging.

    According to the results of the study, those individuals who used sunscreen on a frequent basis showed 24 percent less skin aging compared to the participants who were allowed to apply sunscreen lotion at their own discretion.

    We have always recommended to our patients that they apply sunscreen liberally throughout the year, especially those who reside in Southern California where our practice is located.

    Regardless of age, even those individuals who have not historically included sunscreen lotion in their daily regimen can benefit from utilizing it to prevent further sun damage.

    If patients have sun spots on their face and hands, we often recommend a laser skin procedure to minimize the appearance of these spots and smooth fine wrinkles on the skin.

    Those who have deep wrinkles on their face can benefit from dermal fillers or a facelift. A less-invasive facelift (such as a Freshlift that we offer in our office) might be an option, which has less downtime.

    Always consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your needs.

    (published August 2, 2013)

    smoot-sadrian-hollans-smoot-cosmetic-surgeonsJohn Smoot, MD, is Chief of Plastic Surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital-La Jolla, California and Wendell Smoot, MD, has been voted by his peers as Top Doctor in San Diego for five consecutive years. Carol Hollan, MD, is San Diego’s first female board-certified plastic surgeon while Reza Sadrian, MD, is one of very few plastic surgeons dually certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as oral and maxillofacial surgery. The practice has over 20 years of tenure in the industry and each is individually board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Any of the physicians can provide consultations on plastic surgery procedures and/or laser and skincare treatments at their Laser and Skincare Center and can be reached at their offices on the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital-La Jolla, CA in the Ximed Medical Building at (858) 587-9850 or via the web at sandiegoplasticsurgeryclinic.com.