Dermatologist series: Why SPF is king
We've covered many of the reasons you might visit a dermatologist over the last couple of months, but prevention is better than cure. For that reason we've asked our crack team of professionals for some tips on the very best things you can do to ensure your skin looks healthy for as long as possible.
So what's the top tip from those in the know? One you've probably heard many times before: SPF. All our experts agreed that wearing sun cream on a daily basis is the single best thing you can do for your skin in the long term.
"The main aim for most people is to preserve and protect the skin as best we can, this means that we have less problems with lines and wrinkles, pigment changes, sallowness to the skin, inflammatory lesions and prevention of development of skin cancers. In order to maximally preserve your skin to avoid these problems, protecting yourself from the sun is the main aim," Dr Emma Craythorne of Cedars Dermatology explained to Cover Media. "This can be done by regularly applying a high SPF with a high UVA star rating (look for Zinc Oxide), this should be done summer and winter."
At least SPF 25 is recommended, but you need to go higher during the summer.
Part of the reason protection is so important is to guard against skin cancer, and this point linked to another of the key suggestions about skin care.
"Skin cancer rates are on the increase throughout the globe. Early detection is the key to curing skin cancer and so people need to practice safe sun exposure and to regularly monitor their skin," Dr Walayat Hussain, Consultant Dermatologist at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital explained.
"If there is any lump, bump, mole or blemish on your skin which is not healing, increasing in size, causing itching or bleeding you should seek the advice of an expert dermatologist as soon as possible - 'If in doubt, check it out!'"
Other tips include cutting out cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption, as both can cause accelerated skin ageing. Dr Craythorne also suggests using a topical retinoid once you hit 30 as they help improve the structure of your skin as well as minimising pigmentation problems and fine lines.
If you're not already using a daily SPF, here are some top picks to get your started:
Zelens Daily Defence SPF30
Great protection without any of the slimy feeling you get from some sunscreens.
Clinique Super City Block SPF40
This is an oil-free version and should suit pretty much all skin types. It's great if you wear make-up as it's absorbed fast.
Skinceuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF50
This is a mineral sunscreen which gives sheer coverage, so it's the one to try if you hate that white film you can sometimes get from sun creams.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL
There are two version of this one and both are fab, just one is best for dry skin and one oily ladies. If you have dry skin go for this - you won't even need moisturiser.