Sunlight exposure of the skin is the major source of vitamin D, which is essential for maintenance of musculoskeletal health. Current work involves examining seasonal vitamin D status, sunlight exposure and other contributing factors in different sectors of the population and comprises longitudinal cohort studies in white Caucasian and South Asian adults and adolescents. Intervention studies examine whether following national guidance on sunlight exposure can provide adequate vitamin D.
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in sunlight is a key environmental trigger of acute adverse events including inflammation (sunburn), photosensitivity, immunosuppression and DNA damage. Repeated UVR exposure leads to chronic photodamage and photocarcinogenesis. Topical sunscreens can protect by absorbing and scattering UVR, but have drawbacks including generally infrequent application, and inadequate application methods. We are investigating dietary approaches to photoprotection including polyunsaturated fatty acids and green tea.
Photodynamic therapy and wound healing
Wound healing is a complex, organised process by which the body responds to injury. Topical photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a widely used in non-melanoma skin cancer and produces good cosmetic outcome. Our studies examine the effect of PDT on the wound healing process in human skin.