Washington D.C.: You can't stop time, but you can surely slow down the ageing clock! All you have to do is avoid the sun, according to a new study.
The study of 231 women by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Olay has revealed that those, who kept out of sun and wore sunscreen when ditching the rays wasn't possible, looked up to 20 years younger than they actually were.
However, other supposed rules for a youthful complexion, from drinking lots of water to sleeping well and exercising regularly, failed to hold back the hands of time.
Researcher Dr Alexa Kimball said that the popular perception that we drink lots of water to stay healthy is a myth and the body is pretty good at judging how much we need.
DNA examination of tiny samples of the women's skin gave some insight into the damage done by the sun - a gene called CDKN2A was more active in facial skin that is exposed to the elements than on samples taken from the buttocks.
This gene was also more active in women who said they loved the sun and in those who looked older.
Dr Kimball said CDKN2A activity is a sign that a cell is 'tired out' and urged women should protect their skin year round and not just when on a beach holiday.
Dr Frauke Neuser, principal scientist at Olay, said that this research gives a detailed picture of the effect of sun exposure on skin ageing and illustrate the importance of protection on a daily basis.
The study has been presented at the American Academy of Dermatology conference.