A skincare expert just convinced me to wear SPF every day - 3 reasons you should too, and why it's never too late

 Smiling woman wearing summer hat and sunglasses.
Credit: Getty Images / Westend61

I turned 44 this year, and up to about two weeks ago, only wore SPF if I was on holiday or it was sunny outside. I have very pale skin, and so am always careful when it comes to protecting it from the sun. But when it came to wearing it every day, even inside, the thought didn't even cross my mind.

I thought I understood the importance of SPF when it came to skin damage, but after speaking to Paula's Choice Skincare Education Manager in the UK, Heather Wish, I realised my education on the subject was severely lacking. For example, even the best foundations with SPF is not enough to keep you fully protected.

"UVA rays are here 100% of the time. They go through windows and clouds and cause damage to your skin that you can't feel happening," Heather says. "Around 80-90% of premature skin ageing in terms of fine lines, discolouration is down to UV damage from the sun. I was in Manchester last week and met a lady who wanted to buy eye cream for fine lines and wrinkles, but didn't wear SPF every day.

"Going for ingredients to reverse damage but not wearing SPF is counterintuitive – if you're not using an SPF, you're not protecting yourself from what's causing the damage in the first place, so the fine lines are still going to happen.'

Tried and tested SPFs


5% Vitamin C Sheer Moisturizer SPF 50

Paula's Choice has just launched this new SPF with Vitamin C, which I have been using for the last week – and it's my top choice when it comes to sun protection for my face and neck. It's sheer formula is completely invisible once rubbed in, and it's so light, it doesn't make my skin feel suffocated or clogged in the slightest. I also love how it gives my skin a lovely glow, so much so I happily wear it without make up.

Garnier Vit C SPF
Garnier Vit C SPF

Garnier Vitamin C Daily UV Brightening Fluid Glow SPF 50+

Garnier's Vit C is another favourite. This SPF is tinted, and so, for me, doubles as a lovely base, which is enough to not need any more make up. Plus, it's really affordable. Paula's Choice pips the top spot for me for it's lightweight formula though - Garnier's feel much thicker and heavier on my skin.

Trinny London see the light
Trinny London see the light

See The Light SP50+ Moisturiser

I visited Trinny London's pop-up shop a couple of weeks ago, and was lucky enough to get hands-on with it's SPF, See the Light. I was really impressed by how light and silky smooth it felt against my skin, and rubbed in until it was completely invisible. If the quality and effectiveness of Trinny's new gravity-defying neck cream, The Elevator, is anything to go by, See the Light is a top SPF option.

After a length chat with Heather, I immediately put some SPF on my face, hands, neck - basically any skin that is always on show - and have done so every day since. Here are the three reasons you should too...

1. 90% of melanoma skin cancer could be prevented

As confirmed by Cancer Research UK, 'too much UV radiation is the 3rd biggest cause of cancer and the main cause of skin cancer in the UK. Every time you have prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun (and therefore UV radiation) you are increasing your risk of skin cancer. The good news is that around 9 in 10 cases of melanoma skin cancer in the UK could be prevented by staying safe in the sun and avoiding sunbeds.'

As someone who has had skin cancer removed from the top of their scalp, I am all too aware of the dangers of sun exposure. Covering up and regularly applying SPF while in the sun can, quite literally, save your life.

2. It slows down the ageing process

Sun rays deplete your skins natural levels of collagen and anything else that keeps your skin healthy. SPF provides a barrier on your skin from the sun to prevent and slow that process down.

"It is estimated that around 90% of skin ageing is due to damage from the sun," Heather explains. "Now, imagine for a moment you protect your skin against the harmful rays of the sun on a daily basis, therefore stopping much of that damage from occurring. Any anti-ageing skin care routine must include the daily application of a broad spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater. It is the number one anti-wrinkle, anti-dark spot, anti-sagging product you can use."

3. It's never too late

Another reason I wasn't overly fussed about SPF every day before was I thought I was past the point - or age - where it would make a difference. But when speaking to Heather, I asked if my face would look visibly different in 10 years if I stopped wearing it.

"If you were to compare your skin in 10 years time with using SPF to without, yes there would be a visible difference. Obviously SPF is preventative, rather than reversing damage that has already been done, but apperance-wise you would absolutely see a difference. You still want to protect your skin, it's still important at any age.

"Research has shown that it’s never too late to start protecting your skin. In fact, people with sun damaged skin (and that includes all of us) who started using a broad spectrum sunscreen later in life saw a noticeable reduction in every visible sign of ageing. No matter your age, daily sunscreen use is the foundation of a brilliant skin care routine."