These are the UK cities at most risk of skin ageing from sun exposure

Chichester is the UK town with the highest risk of skin ageing from UV rays, according to new research

The findings, from Clarins Beauty Daily team, are based on the number of sunshine hours per UK city.  

Chichester in West Sussex was the sunniest with a total of 1,919 hours (80 days) on average a year, according to Met Office data.

While SPF is essential every day because there is still risk irrespective of the weather, residents in Derry, Northern Ireland, were the least at risk of sun damage, experiencing the lowest hours of sunlight per year among all UK cities at 1,222 hours (51 days). 

Glasgow was also among the lowest risk, with a total of 1,234 hours of sunlight on average a year. 

In addition to Chichester, other coastal cities in the UK also had high annual average hours of sunshine. 

Brighton and Hove came in second place with a total of 1,892 hours, Southend-on-Sea came in third place with 1,884 hours, and Portsmouth followed at 1,772 hours. 

This means that without proper sun care, residents here are at even more risk of skin damage than other cities in the UK. 

Top 10 UK cities most at risk of skin ageing from UV rays 

(Annual average sunshine hours)

  1. Chichester - 1,919 hours 
  2. Brighton and Hove - 1,892 hours
  3. Southend-on-Sea - 1,884 hours
  4. Portsmouth - 1,772 hours
  5. Canterbury - 1,737 hours
  6. Plymouth - 1,732 hours
  7. Southampton - 1,706 hours 
  8. Salisbury - 1,699 hours
  9. Cardiff - 1,692 hours 
  10. Bristol - 1,658 hours

When looking at the 20 most-populated cities in the UK, Southampton was first among them – with a total of 1,706 hours of sunshine a year. 

London ranked sixth for UV among the most-populated cities – with a total of 1,559 hours of sunshine, or 65 days a year. 

With a total of 1,670 hours (70 days), the South East had the highest average hours of sunshine per year out of all regions in the UK, meaning that residents living here are at the highest risk of UV exposure day-to-day. In comparison, northern Scotland was the lowest with 1,104 hours per year or 46 days. 

UV risk is usually at its highest between 10am and 4pm, as well as during the spring and summer months – so it's best to advise clients to avoid too much sun exposure during these times. 

While the sun is not as intense on gloomy days, UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds, so it's still important to use adequate SPF throughout the year. 

When it comes to skin damage from the sun, there are two types of UV light that impact this. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays have a longer wavelength known to cause ageing, whilst ultraviolet B (UVB) rays have a shorter wavelength which can burn the skin without SPF use. 

Overexposure to UV rays can lead to the development of wrinkles, texture, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, red blotches, brown spots and even lack of firmness in the skin. 

In a 2017 Statista survey, 31% of men in the UK said they don’t wear sunscreen during the summer, even if they’re on a sunny holiday, compared to only 15% of women. 

In addition, a 2021 survey revealed that 37% of the male respondents reported that they never apply sunscreen when outside of their home. 31% said they use it some of the time and only 11% said that they always use it.

The team at Clarins Beauty Daily said: “Make sure you’re using protection no lower than SPF30 daily, even if you’re not directly in the sun. UV rays can streak through the windows of your home and car  and can even damage your skin on cloudy days. 

“The damage from UV radiation is cumulative and, therefore, sun protection is non-negotiable. When looking at the research, it's important that men also make more effort to use SPF and work adequate sun care into their skincare routines from day-to-day.”

Although sun safety is essential, the body also creates vitamin D from sunlight – check out the benefits of vitamin D for skin.

Did your city make the list? Let us know what you advise clients to do to keep safe from the sun in the comments.