If you regularly slather on sunscreen before heading outside, a new study suggests that you may indeed be rewarded with fewer wrinkles and less saggy skin.

In a new Australian study, researcher recruited 903 white adults ages 25 to 55 who live in the sun-drenched region of Queensland, dubbed the Sunshine Coast.

Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups — members of one group were told to use sunscreen when they wanted, while the other group was told to apply a sunscreen of SPF 15+ to face, neck, arms, and hands daily, and to reapply after sweating, swimming or being outside for a few hours. 

At the beginning of the study, researchers took impressions of the backs of participants’ hands, and they did the same 4.5 years later to examine the microscopic changes of skin aging. They also weighed the sunscreen bottles every three months to monitor compliance. 

Findings showed that adults who regularly used sunscreen over a 4.5-year period had less-wrinkled skin, resulting in 24 percent less skin aging compared to those who used sunscreen at their discretion.

The study was published June 4, 2013 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Read more here: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1691732.