Daily Defence: Why You Should Wear Sunscreen Every Day


Wearing sunscreen in your daily skincare is key to healthy skin. Sunscreen protects your skin from UV rays (ultraviolet radiation) and reduces the risk of skin cancer, premature ageing and hyperpigmentation. 80% of skin ageing and 9 out of 10 skin cancers in the UK are caused by sun exposure with no protection.

Daily sunscreen creates a barrier to protect your skin and its youth, so it’s an essential part of any skincare.

What’s the point of sunscreen?

Sunscreen (also known as sun cream) protects the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. UVA (ageing) goes deep and causes ageing and most cancers. UVB (burning) causes sunburn and most cancers.

How does sunscreen work? What are the ingredients?

Sunscreens contain active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These work by reflecting and scattering UV rays and creating a barrier on the skin’s surface. When UV rays hit this barrier, the particles in the sunscreen reflect and scatter the radiation away from the skin.

Do you have to wear sunscreen all year round?

You should wear sunscreen every day. Over 90% of UV rays can get through your skin, even on cloudy days. This is all year round, not just during the summer.

What happens when the rays get in?

UV radiation, especially UVA, penetrates the skin deep and breaks collagen fibres. This happens by creating reactive oxygen species (ROS), which damage the collagen fibres and the cells that produce collagen (fibroblasts). The breakdown of collagen results in a lack of skin elasticity and wrinkles.

UV also affects elastin fibres, responsible for the skin’s ability to snap back into shape after stretching or contracting. UV rays cause the production of abnormal elastin and enzymes called metalloproteinases. These enzymes break down abnormal elastin and incidentally break down collagen, which causes skin ageing.

UVB radiation affects the DNA in skin cells by creating thymine dimers. Thymine dimers are DNA damage where two adjacent thymine bases bond, disrupting DNA structure and function. If not repaired correctly, mutations can occur.

What are ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species)?

ROS are highly reactive molecules that can cause damage, DNA strand breaks, base modifications and DNA cross-linking with proteins.

When DNA is damaged, cells trigger their DNA repair mechanisms. Suppose the damage is severe or the repair mechanisms are overwhelmed or faulty. In that case, this can cause mutations to accumulate, leading to skin ageing and increasing the risk of skin cancers, including basal, squamous, and melanoma.

What else can happen?

Severe DNA damage can cause programmed cell death (apoptosis) to stop the spread of damaged cells. This is a protective mechanism but can cause skin damage and inflammation.

UV radiation can also suppress local immune responses and impair the skin’s ability to fight infections and detect and remove cancerous cells.

What’s SPF?

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures how much sunscreen protects the skin from UVB rays.

SPF 30 or SPF 50?

The difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 in blocking UVB rays is more than it seems.

SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays, and SPF 50 blocks about 98%. So, an SPF50 provides only 1% more protection than an SPF30. It’s also about feel when used daily—SPF30 often contains other actives that absorb quickly with the sunscreen, leaving little to no white residue on the skin and a light veil effect. However, SPF50 can feel heavier on the skin and leave a white residue.

How do you calculate burn time in direct sun?

If it takes 10 minutes for your skin to start burning without protection, with SPF 30, you can stay in the sun 30 times longer without burning, which is 300 minutes.

Under the same conditions, SPF 50 would let you stay in the sun 50 times longer without burning, which is 500 minutes.

However, sunscreen’s effectiveness depends on proper application and reapplication. Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen to achieve the total SPF rating. Despite SPF, sunscreen must be reapplied every time it is used or more often if swimming or sweating.

Are there other ingredients that help in the fight against UV?

SPF blocks UVB rays, but many other actives can block or neutralise them and contribute to skin ageing and UVB rays. Here are some clinically proven actives found in sunscreen:

Celligent® was developed after the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research on circadian rhythms. It counteracts several of the adverse effects of UV radiation, including DNA and cell damage.

Elix-IR™ – UV and IR rays penetrate the dermis at different depths, but each affects the quality of elastic fibres. Cathepsin G, an enzyme in photoaged skin, triggers a surge in MMP synthesis, leading to dermal fibre degradation. Elix-IR™ protects tropoelastin and fibrillin-1, the main components of elastic fibres found in the papillary dermis (upper epidermis) and reticular dermis (lower epidermis).

What sunscreen is best for different skin types?

Choosing the right sunscreen for specific skin types means knowing every skin’s wants and needs. What works for one skin type may not work for another.

Sensitive skin

For sensitive skin, a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free natural sunscreen is key to avoiding irritation. Look for mineral-based sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that are less likely to cause sensitivity.

Oily skin

Oily skin benefits from oil-free, non-comedogenic formulations that don’t clog pores or add shine. Gel-based or lightweight lotions are great options as they provide sun protection without extra oil.

Combination Skin

Combination skin needs a balance of hydration and oil control, so look for a sunscreen with a matte finish that targets all areas. Also, water-based formulations are best for hydrating dry areas without making oily areas greasy.

Dry Skin

For dry skin, use creamy or hydrating sunscreens with hyaluronic acid or glycerin to help with misplaced moisture and prevent dryness.

Fair Skin

For fair skin, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. For protection, choose sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Where can I buy the best sunscreen?

Get the award-winning Lisa Franklin Sunscreen with high sun protection SPF 30. Formulated with natural ingredients and actives, including Celligent®, our sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Cruelty-free products for a balance of nature and science for your skin.