The truth about ageing, sun damage and SPF skincare

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Confused about sun damage and premature ageing? Here's everything you need to know, thanks to experts.

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© Getty - Handbag

When it comes to the ageing effects of sunbathing, UV rays and sun exposure, there's a lot of conflicting information out there. So, we've asked the experts at Boots to separate fact from fiction.

Will sun exposure speed up ageing?


Yes, yes it will. "Anti-ageing and UV sun protection go hand in hand - you can't have one without the other," says Phil Johnson, Boots UK anti-ageing expert. "UVA rays go deeper into the skin than UVB, so it's important to protect your skin against both."

How can I prevent premature ageing and sun damage?


"Using products that contain both an SPF and UVA protection will help to limit the effect of UV on the skin, and the younger you start doing this the better," says Phil. "UV rays account for 80% of skin ageing."

Soltan Face Moisturising Suncare Cream-face spf and uva sun protection-handbag.com

Soltan Face Moisturising Suncare Cream SPF30, £9, boots.com



Why does the sun speed up ageing?


"UV rays damage the infrastructure of the skin, which can in turn, enhance the breakdown of collagen which leads to wrinkles," says Phil. Collagen production also slows down naturally as we age, so ditching the sun protection wil only add to that process.

Is it just my skin I need to protect?


No, it's everything. "Areas such as your neck, décolletage, lips and hands need protecting too," says Phil. "Over time UV exposure can make lips thinner and discoloured, while wearing sunglasses will help protect eyes from both UV rays, as well as squinting, which can lead to more fine lines and crows feet."

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© Instagram / Rosie Huntington-Whiteley



Can I get sun damage through a glass window?


"While glass filters out UVB rays which cause the majority of burning, UVA rays (which penetrate deeper) can still get through," says Phil. "So if you spend a lot of time commuting in a car, it's even more important to wear UV protection daily."

Will sun protection stop vitamin D production?


No says Anthony Young, Professor of Experimental Photobiology at King's College London. "My recent study found that when SPF 15 sunscreen was applied correctly, participants still experienced an increase to their baseline vitamin D levels during sun exposure."

What should I look for in anti-ageing sun protection?


SPF and UV protection are equally important says Clare O'Connor, Boots UK Suncare Expert. "UVA or star rating relates to protection against the sun's UVA rays, which are responsible for premature ageing and deeper damage to the skin. Three stars offers 60% UVA protection, 4 stars 80% and 5 stars more than 90%."



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