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29th May 2024

What actually happens to our skin if we don’t wear SPF? An expert reveals all

Kat O'Connor

Do you wear SPF every day?

We invest so much time and money in our skincare routines, but are we all making one crucial mistake when it comes to SPF?

We should wear SPF every single day but it’s one thing some of us often forget about. We’ll slather our skin with serums, moisturisers, and creams, but we’re not using the one product that is protecting our skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Professor Nicola Ralph of the Institute of Dermatologist told that wearing SPF will help prevent wrinkles.

She explained: “You may all be familiar with the images on social media of the person who wore sunscreen on their face but didn’t extend it onto their neck or the person who worked as a driver for their career and one-half of the face has extensive wrinkling versus the less UV exposed side being much less wrinkled. The differences are striking.

“This is the result of chronic UV exposure over a lifetime,” she explained.

Nicola explained that 80-90% of our wrinkles are because of chronic UV exposure.

“Our collagen/elastin bundles in the dermis (second layer of the skin) are damaged, as well as the small capillaries which lead to broken vessels on the skin’s surface, and altered pigmentation such as sunspots/freckling.

You are likely to age more if you suffer from regular UV exposure.

“Not only will one have more wrinkles if the skin is exposed to the sun on a regular basis but one is also at risk of the development of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers.”

What happens when you don’t wear SPF is the DNA of your skin cells is broken down. This damage then builds up and triggers mutations in your skin cells.

“UV exposure damages the DNA of skin cells and while the body can repair some of the DNA damage it can’t repair it all. The unrepaired damage builds up over time triggering mutations in skin cells causing them to multiply rapidly and ultimately leading to skin cancer,” Nicola said.