Protect yourself: why it’s worth investing in SPF

sun damage prevention

With a heatwave on the horizon, it’s time to up your SPF game to prevent sun damage. This May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and although the message is getting through to us that we need to protect our skin from excessive sun exposure, many of us are confused about which product to choose.

There is now a bewildering range of formulas to choose from, but here’s why you should consider looking beyond Boots for your sun protection.

Best for protection

The first step is to understand the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen. Physical sunscreen products provide a barrier to deflect UV rays from penetrating the skin, and contain ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These products are safe for use on babies and young children, so we typically recommended them for those with sensitive skin conditions such as acne or rosacea.

A chemical sunscreen absorbs UV radiation and converts it into heat which is released from the skin. They typically contain a high number of ingredients which can irritate sensitive skin. Also, a physical sunscreen will block both UVB and UVA rays, whereas a chemical product may only provide protection against one type.

As well as protecting you against UVA and UVB rays, Obagi’s Sun Shield Warm Broad Spectrum SPF 50 provides additional defence against infrared (IR) solar radiation. Infrared radiation has become a hot topic in recent years as it’s been discovered to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, with approximately 50% reaching the dermis where sun damage from infrared causes excessive collagen breakdown, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.

Best for sensitive skin

Patients suffering from rosacea often have a challenging relationship with the sun. It commonly affects those with fairer complexions and sun exposure is a key trigger as it breaks down skin barrier function, combined with increased blood flow due to the heat. At the same time, many chemical sunscreens can irritate rosacea-prone skin further.

AlumierMD’s Clear Shield Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 42 is a physical sunscreen that’s specially formulated for those with sensitive skin. It’s non- comedogenic so designed not to block the pores and is very light in texture while providing broad-spectrum protection. It also contains niacinamide that soothes the skin.

Best for ageing skin

Prevention is always better than cure, so a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against the different wavelengths in sunlight, is a must when it comes to preventing sun damage.

However, medical-grade sunscreen products could actually reverse the sun damage you’ve accumulated over many years of excessive exposure.

A year-long study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery, found that daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen not only resulted in no new sun damage, but also an improvement in skin texture and pigmentation and a significant reduction in fine lines.

The study’s authors speculated that the body’s innate ability to heal itself meant that the skin repaired previous damage because it was being protected from present sun exposure. A product such as AlumierMD’s Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 40 also contains powerful antioxidant vitamin C that brightens the skin and evens out skin tone.

For more advice on what medical grade sun protection can do for you, call 0115 772 2363 or email to arrange a skincare consultation with Dr Claudia.