Sunscreens and Photoaging: A Review of Current Literature

Linna L. Guan; Henry W. Lim; Tasneem F. Mohammad


Am J Clin Dermatol. 2021;22(6):819-828. 

In This Article


The perception of sunscreen use has shifted from purely protecting against UV-induced erythema to broad-spectrum protection against not only erythema but also photoaging, dyspigmentation, DNA damage, and photocarcinogenesis. The impact of visible light and IR light in photoaging is still being explored, but better methods of protection against these wavelengths are needed. Sunscreens continue to be adapted to provide the broadest coverage while being cosmetically appealing. However, with the increased scrutiny of UV filters in the 2019 FDA proposed rule, new UV filters that are safe for humans and the environment, photostable, and consumer friendly must be developed and approved to offer continued sun protection for US consumers. When choosing a sunscreen, a broad-spectrum tinted sunscreen with SPF ≥ 30 used daily will offer protection against UVR and VL to reduce their effects on photoaging. Additionally, sunscreen additives such as antioxidants, photolyases, and more have opened the door for not only improved photoprotection against but also the reversal of skin aging. However, larger-scale and replicable studies must be performed before clinical guidelines can be issued.