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Why is sunscreen the best anti-ageing cream on the market?

Dr Kim Booysen explains why sunscreen needs to be number one in your skincare.


As a doctor the first step in any treatment is prevention. Well when trying to hold back signs of facial ageing, it is the same. We need to preserve the collagen and elastin we have and ensure we don’t cause more loss through our daily activities.

We also age in 2 ways. One we call intrinsic ageing, this is the predetermined slowing down of the cells. An example of this is the way collagen and elastin production decreases in our 30 and 40s, then when we experience the menopause the production can drop as much as 30% in the first 5 years after menopause. We also know that what we do to our bodies can age them faster. This is called extrinsic ageing and includes sun exposure, smoking and unhealthy diets.

Sun exposure

Sun exposure is one of the biggest things we can change to minimise the loss of collagen over time. The reason we lose collagen is because the sunrays enter the skin and free radicals are created. The free radical binds to the skin cells, the collagen and elastin and changes the DNA. This makes it less effective and then it gets copied and so the damage is prolonged.

Sun rays are also more than just the traditional UVA and UVB rays we think of. Here you can see UVA and UVB are just some of the rays. There are also HEV and IRV which is also harmful to the skin.


UVB is the shallowest penetration but burns the skin. UVA penetrates a little deeper but causes more damage to skin cell DNA, UVA is also responsible for ageing. UVB tend to penetrate a little shallower and causes burning in the skin.

This is why sunbeds are so bad, because…yes you guessed it , you are being given UVA only, so you don’t burn but you will age quicker. Hence the saying today’s tan is tomorrow’s wrinkle. A tan is really just the body producing melanin, a pigment that appears in the skin, and it tried to use the melanin to reflect the sun rays so they hopefully don’t penetrate deeply into the skin to cause damage. This is the body’s defence mechanism and a tan is simply sun damage and not healthy at all.

Remember that UVA penetrates through glass, so even though you don’t leave the house you are still being exposed to these rays and therefore you should wear your sunscreen everyday!

The other rays to remember are HEV – this is High Energy Visible Light – which is light coming off computers and phones. This light also damages the skin. This happens regardless of the time of day, another reason to wear your sunscreen.

There are also infrared rays, which is the last type of rays you need to protect yourself against.


SPF in your make up is unfortunately not enough. Most recommendations are to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, and very few people do this. A SPF of 50 blocks 98% of rays, if applied in the correct quantity and reapplied every 2 hours. So ,if you are using a makeup with an SPF of 15 and apply only once a day, you are not getting enough protection and you will see sun damage appear on your skin as you age. Therefore, start off right, with an SPF of 50, applied daily and make sure it covers UVA, UVB, HEV and IRV. Not all sunscreens cover all these rays so be sure to check. An average price for a good sunscreen is £40-£50.

My favourite sunscreen that covers all the necessary rays are the ZO Sunscreen range. They come in SPF 30-50 and there are a variety to suit different people. There are thicker creams for those exercising in the sun, primer combos for those wanting to layer with makeup, there is a sunscreen with melanin that blends with your skin tone and there is even a powder version that comes in three shades so you can top up your cover during the day. ZO suncreens also have a 12 hour slow release mechanism to release antioxidants to fight off free radical formation, so you are protected all day.

Zo Sunscreen are not available online and only sold from medical clinics. Please email if you are interested in more information about these sunscreens.

Dr Kim Booysen is a qualified doctor who offers medical aesthetic treatments in Bromley and Beckenham in London.

Dr Booysen is experiencing the ageing process herself, so she understands the need to look your best as time goes by.She offers holistic treatments that make you look good for your age without looking done.

Book a consultation to find out what treatments you really need to look your best.

Email to book a consultation.


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