Protecting your skin against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation is an absolutely essential part of maintaining skin health. UV radiation is not only the biggest cause of premature ageing but it is also implicated in skin cancer formation. Excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun must be kept to a minimum although it is important to know that some exposure is required to help your skin produce Vitamin D.

The key message is that ultraviolet radiation is a potent source of oxygen free radicals which are the molecules that set off a dangerous chain reaction in the skin that ultimately leads to collagen & elastin breakdown and DNA damage.

Use of PHOTOPROTECTANTS (traditionally termed sunscreens, sun creams, SPFs) are therefore essential to block the harmful effects of UV light. However, topical ANTIOXIDANTS should be also to be used to minimise free radical damage too.

The photoprotection story actually is not that simple, however, and the latest photobiology research suggests that infrared and visible light might also contribute to the ageing process too. Therefore a ‘broad-brush’ approach to photoprotection should be used.

Types of SPF UV protectants

Mr Banwell and his team strongly recommend you use the very best SPFs possible to protect your skin and to be safe in the sun.

Remember there are two main types of sun creams – chemical and mineral. The main difference is that chemical sun care products contain UV filtering ingredients that take time to be absorbed by the skin – hence people using the 20 minute rule before sun exposure. By contrast, mineral sunscreens contain inert UV protective ingredients such as zinc or titanium oxide and form a protective barrier on top of the skin – these have an immediate effect.

We find that mineral SPFs do not irritate the skin but sometimes chemical sunscreens can cause sensitivities and reactions. Zinc is also anti-inflammatory and does not block pores. Unfortunately we know that the downside of mineral SPFs is that they used to be very thick and white but newer preparations are more ‘cosmetically elegant’ (micronized forms) and become transparent when applied – they are even available in spray format too!

To purchase photoprotectants and sun protection factors (SPFs) in Sussex, Kent, Surrey and London please phone The Banwell Clinic on 01342 330302 now. We stock a wide range of SPFs for patients living in East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Brighton, Guildford, Caterham, Chichester, Worthing and London.

Expert Comment

“The scientific field of photobiology is advancing rapidly. UV protection in all it’s forms is essential for our skin both from an anti-ageing perspective but also to help prevent skin cancer.”

Mr Banwell

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Prices Start at £24

The cost of UV Photoprotection at The Banwell Clinic depends on how many areas are being treated