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Home » Dermatology » Skincare science, skin ageing and sun damage explained by a dermatologist

Dr Clare Kiely MBBChBAO MRCPI MSc(Skin Ageing)

Co-Founder, The Skin Diary

Renowned dermatologists use science-backed skincare to promote skin longevity — and here’s how you can benefit from it.

Like most dermatologists, when I started my career, my standard skincare advice was simple: moisturise and wear sunscreen. However, the science around topical skincare has progressed immensely in the last 10–15 years, proving the undoubted efficacy of various skincare ingredients.

Skin science and skin ageing expertise

As an honorary lecturer in skin ageing, I’ve worked with some of the world’s most renowned skin ageing researchers — Prof Rachel Watson, Prof Mike Sheratt, Prof Chris Griffiths — who are unlocking impressive scientific benefits of skincare ingredients. This, coupled with my specialism in skin cancer management, led to insights into reversing UV damage and promoting skin longevity.

UV impact on skin longevity

Longevity science is progressing. We need to invest in our health now to remain healthy in later life — and it’s the same for your skin. Skin longevity introduces various practices to help our skin look and feel as healthy as possible for as long as possible. No quick fixes or fads; rather science-backed, easy-to-maintain principles.

A staggering 80% of skin ageing is a build-up of cellular damage caused by chronic UV exposure. This happens because UVA and UVB rays disrupt many cellular processes in the skin, causing inflammation, DNA damage and altering the immune function of our skin. Damage that accumulates can lead to pre-cancer and cancer — with rates on the rise. Over 224,000 skin cancers were diagnosed in 2019, an increase of over a quarter compared to 2013.1

Yes, some are blessed with genetically great skin (intrinsic ageing), but that’s not the case for most of us. There are many extrinsic factors contributing to ageing acceleration. The main culprits are ultraviolet radiation from the sun and our environmental exposures.

A staggering 80% of skin ageing is a build-up of
cellular damage caused by chronic UV exposure.

Practising lifelong skin habits

When advising patients on skincare routines, I encourage healthy, lifelong habits. Practise good sun protection (don’t seek a tan, wear daily sunscreen and sit in the shade where you can); maintain a healthy, varied diet; and maintain a consistent skincare routine.

That’s not to say you can’t enjoy the outdoors. Despite understanding UV damage, we encourage an outdoor lifestyle as it’s linked with good physical and mental health, wellbeing and longevity. Naturally, as we age, our skin’s ability to self-repair declines.

There are now myriads of skincare actives (non-prescription and prescription only) that can both protect and repair ageing and sun-damaged skin but understanding these and incorporating them into a routine to suit your skin is complex. The future of skincare longevity is personalised products, delivered in easy-to-follow routines, with progress mapped by dermatologists.

Dr Clare Kiely MBBChBAO MRCPI MSc (Skin Ageing): is a consultant dermatologist, dermatological and laser surgeon and expert in aesthetic dermatology. She co-founded the personalised, prescription skincare brand The Skin Diary with other world-renowned dermatologists: Prof Chris Griffiths OBE, Dr Richard Barlow and Dr Tamara Griffiths.


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