Consumers want more and more UV protection in their daily skin care products to prevent everything from wrinkles to cancer.
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is thought to be the most common cause of the genetic changes that lead to skin cancer. Studies have shown that UV radiation can disable certain genes, such as P53, that normally keep cancer in check. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and the statistics are alarming. About one million cases of basal cell or squamous cell cancer are diagnosed annually in the U.S. The most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma, is diagnosed in about 44,200 Americans annually. Al-though easily treated if detected early, skin cancer kills about 9,200 Americans a year. About 7,300 of these deaths are from melanoma.
But skin care products with UV protection can help reduce the damage that the sun and pollution have on the skin. With more products containing SPF protection, some questions have arisen about their benefits. This summer, news reports have stated that just because sun worshippers are using stronger sunscreens they aren’t decreasing the chance of the sun damaging their skin. In fact, some researchers believe that the higher their sun protection factor (SPF) in a product, the more susceptible its users become to, among other things, skin cancer. This is because no matter what SPF protection we use, we tend to stay out in the sun until our skin starts to become red.
Don’t be mistaken–the use of a UV protectant is better for skin than a product with no protection. But how much should be used? And should it be used all the time? The benefits of using SPF-included products are indisputable. According to the The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beautiful Skin, by Marsha Gordon, M.D. and Alice E. Fugate, the sun–not aging–is thought to be the cause of most wrinkles. Wearing products with a UV protection is one of the most important steps in keeping skin beautiful.
Year-round use is key, as even though the sun’s rays are less intense during the winter, they’re still not good for skin. More and more cosmetics companies are including SPF in their products, although a foundation with a SPF lower than 15 simply doesn’t offer enough protection for daily use, according to the two authors.
Responding To Consumers
Skin care companies are responding to consumer demand for UV protection. "We received a lot of feedback from our customers and sales representatives who said they wanted products that combined a skin moisturizer with SPF protection," said Carol Margolis, director of skin care marketing, Mary Kay, Inc. To satisfy consumers, Mary Kay launched Mary Kay Daily Protection Moisturizer with SPF 15 in January. It contains both a moisturizer and sunscreen. According to Ms. Margolis, this hydrating lotion with sun protection is formulated for use on all skin types and helps protect skin from premature aging due to incidental sun exposure. It should be used under foundation in the morning and after cleansing at night.
More recently, Mary Kay has introduced a day and night formula that is specifically formulated for the needs of the skin at these two different times. Night products must restore and rejuvenate skin. While products used during the day should fight off the elements that can damage the skin such as pollution and UVA/UVB rays. "Consumers are very knowledgeable in that they know the difference between how UVA and UVB rays can harm the skin. The Day Solution helps to battle both," said Ms. Margolis. "It is really important to have a SPF 15 rating with the day time use. Day Solution takes protection to the next level."
Everyday skin goes through a revolving cycle of damage from elements and the attempt to renew itself at night. Over time, this constant wear and tear breaks down the skin’s defenses, leading to premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles. Mary Kay’s new Day Solution and Night Solution contains Parsol 1789; antioxidants in a nutribead delivery system and hydroxy acids to revitalize and help skin perform at an optimum level 24 hours a day.
The Mary Kay Day Solution with Sunscreen SPF 15 provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays while helping to energize the skin during the day. "Consumers are more savvy in regard to ingredients used in the product and what they do. They know how they function and their efficacy," said Ms. Margolis.
"More information is available and allows for a better educated consumer to know about the skin and how to care for it," said Ms. Margolis. Vitamin A, C and E help to battle the antiaging and skin care problems while botanicals help to rejuvenate the skin. "We have a whole line that helps fight the battle against aging," she said. Parsol 1789 (avobenzone) is incorporated into the product to protect the skin from UVA rays which cause premature aging, wrinkling and sun spots. Formulated with botanicals such as lemon and sunflower seed extract to help support the skin’s increased need for energy during the day, this light, non-greasy solution also nourishes the skin with amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
The Day Solution also contains a retinol (vitamin A palmitate), which boosts the skin’s ability to produce collagen and improves the tone and texture of skin. Used with its companion Night Solution, the product enhances the overall performance of basic skin care programs.
Dr. Daniel Maes, vice president of research and development, Estée Lauder Worldwide said that protecting the skin with SPF achieves several goals. "Premature aging can be prevented with the use of sunscreen on the skin. For example, Estée Lauder offers Daywear with an SPF 15 rating," said. Dr. Maes.
According to Dr. Maes, ingredients are adjusted for the target age group at Estée Lauder. "As Daywear is used as protection for younger people, an older group will need protection plus repair technology," he said. While tests have shown that improvement can be seen in eight weeks, Dr. Maes cautions that "nothing happens overnight."
Claims beyond SPF 30 are not a big deal for Estée Lauder as they have found that 99% of UVA rays are blocked out at a 30 rating. "If too much sunscreen is in a product, it can irritate the skin as well as dilute the product," said Dr. Maes. SPF 15 blocks out 95% of UVA rays and is fine for daily use, the use of a SPF 30 is intended more for beach use, he said.
In addition to SPF, antioxidants can combat antiaging. "Not all skin damage results from the sun; pollution can cause problems. On a normal day in New York City, the smoke and pollution damage done to the skin can equal that of the sun," Dr. Maes remarked. The use of antioxidants are a must to fight pollution and those key ingredients are vitamin E, C and green tea extracts.
"Consumers can control aging by protecting their skin. Protection comes through lots of different molecular technology, such as retinol. Consumers must have protection that deals with the long term for your skin," said Dr. Maes.
Précision Skin Care, a new product range developed by Chanel, is based on new scientific knowledge about how healthy skin functions. That knowledge enabled Chanel to develop a unique approach to diagnose the skin, identify the highly specific needs of every woman’s skin (even the most sensitive) and formulate the individualized Précision products that totally meet her needs. Each woman’s personal Précision recommendation provides breakthrough benefits, improving her skin’s appearance and youthfulness because each product is specifically selected for her, based on her unique skin profile, according to the company.
Chanel is trying to firm its place in skin care with the Aug. 1 launch of the Précision 26-SKU collection. The line consists of five cleaners, two toners, seven targeted "solution" products, seven moisturizers, three "intensive" formulas and two night treatments.
Rectifiance, with multihydroxy acids and vitamins, is formulated for skin showing the first signs of aging. Three daytime Rectifiance formulas, Day Lift Refining Oil Free Lotion, Day Lift Refining Lotion and Day Lift Refining Cream, all with SPF 15, intensively hydrate, refine skin texture, protect against skin-damaging UVA/UVB rays and free radicals, leaving skin firmer, radiant and younger-looking. Advance formulas were specifically created to treat the distinct types of skin sensitivity identified by Chanel. Fluide Multi-Protection Daily Protection Lotion SPF 25 is an alcohol-free, quick absorbing emulsion with vitamin E, that defends against skin-damaging UVA/UVB rays and free radicals.
Dr. Jack Mausner, senior vice president of research and development, Chanel, said that the products with SPF protection help fight against ultra violet light and daylight damage. "If there were no UV rays emitted, we would all look like five-year-old maidens," said Dr. Mausner.
At Clarins, the use of SPF is selective. Carol Schuler, vice president, communications and creative services, Clarins, said that while her company uses SPF in its moisturizers and color cosmetics products in a range of 6-15 depending on the product, the company has noticed that some consumers want products with them, while others don’t. "We have used SPF 15 in Hydration Plus skin moisturizer and offer it without (UV protection)," said Ms. Schuler.
According to Ms. Schuler, it is not always healthy to use SPF 15 on a daily basis. "Synthetic products are aggressive on the skin and may cause damage. If you are outside all day, it is prudent to use products with SPF protection. But people who are in a building all day don’t necessarily need it, especially if they have sensitive skin," she said.
"Consumers are now unavoidably immersed in the tremendous amount of publicity that overexposure to the UV rays in sunlight can cause premature skin aging and even skin cancer," said Peter Dorogi of Elizabeth Arden.
Consumers know that protection against UV exposure also protects against the development of lines and wrinkles, age spots and blotchy pigmentation, spider veins as well as skin roughness and dryness. "Consumers, therefore look for skin care products that deliver a scientifically measured level of UV protection, which is now standardized with the SPF number shown on the product label," said Mr. Dorogi.
The consumer interest in SPF has resulted in the launch of a sister product for Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Time Complex Moisture Cream. The newer version of this product carries the same name but sports as added SPF 15 benefit on its label.
"Whereas SPF ingredients are of paramount importance in the battle against premature skin aging, aesthetics and skin absorption, characteristics of a product may be adversely affected by high levels of sunscreen ingredients. Such aesthetic considerations are obviously more important for a daily-use moisturizer than for a beach-use product," said Mr. Dorogi. As a result, some Elizabeth Arden skin treatment products supplement the antiaging benefits of SPF ingredients with a variety of antioxidants that eradicate free radicals produced by any UV light that escapes the SPF barrier.
"Some of our treatments products with SPF also contain uniquely effective and safe form of vitamin A, retinyl linoleate. Active forms of vitamin A are known to both prevent and reverse the skin damage that results from sun exposure," he said. Examples of Elizabeth Arden SPF products that contain both antioxidants and retinyl linoleate include the Modern Skin Care Line products Daily Moisture SPF 15 and Triple Protection faceblock SPF 30, as well as Eye-Wish SPF 10 under the Ceramide brand.
For Avon, the fight against UVA/UVB damage has been going on for a generation. "We have a history of 20 years of using SPF in skin care products to fight aging, dating back to 1979," said John Duffy, director of product development, skin care category.
Anew Day Force Vertical Lifting Lotion with SPF 15 is just the latest example of the company’s fight in keeping skin from aging. Avon Skin Care Laboratories takes the technology of Anew Night Force into day, with Day Force Vertical Lifting Lotion. Patent-pending AVC10 BN and Oxa-Acid work to redefine and tighten the appearance of sagging facial skin. Parsol 1789 offers broad UVA/UVB protection to defend against photoaging. A blend of antioxidants, including vitamin E, protect against harmful free radicals. Because of technology, retinol based products with SPF 15 help to fight pigmentation and discolorment of the skin, said Mr. Duffy.
"Many people focus on the face and not on other areas that get exposed to the sun regularly, such as the hands," said Mr. Duffy.
The use of SPF products really began in the mid-1980s, according to Mr. Duffy. "Dermatologists noted that inadvertent sun damage was not being addressed. Then a University of Pennsylvania publication chronicled the UVA damage that contributes to aging," he said. To combat casual UV exposure, Avon launched Age Block Daytime Defense Cream UVA/UVB Protection SPF 15 Product.
Age Block was developed by Avon Skin Care Laboratories and helps protect skin against the signs of photoaging caused by exposure to harmful UVA/UVB sun rays. Age Block is a lightweight cream formulated for daily use to preserve healthy-looking skin by helping to prevent wrinkles, sagging and age spots before they start to appear. Age Block also contains vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, to complete the ultimate daytime defense for your skin, Mr. Duffy said.
Backed by the guidance of dermatologists, Neutrogena Moisture SPF 15 combines long lasting moisturization with effective sun protection for softer, smoother skin. The non-greasy formula keeps skin moisturized for 12 hours as the SPF 15 protection helps prevent premature signs of aging. The non-comedogenic formula won’t clog pores, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free. The moisturizer is available with a sheer tint to give skin a healthy natural glow.
"Our savvy customers are very skin conscious and want to protect their skin against aging. Skin cancer is becoming more of an issue for them. The sun causes damage to the skin more then anything else," said Cindy Zielinski, marketing director of skin and sun care, Neutrogena.
"The next best thing recommended by dermatologists is to stay out of the sun. Products with SPF 15 rating are bascially used for tanning purposes," she said, adding that the company uses Parsol 1789 products because the ingredients offers the broadest protection against UVA rays.
Labeling the Problem
New legislation proposed by the FDA limits product claims to SPF 30. But most sun care experts who spoke to happi said that the FDA action will not stop research and development of SPF products. While Neutrogena is still formulating its plan in confronting this issue, Ms. Zielinski thinks that the FDA is looking at the wrong end of the spectrum. "It is not much of an issue due to the fact that all of our products sans one is SPF 30 or lower. The FDA should concentrate on lower SPF ratings than higher ones," she said.
Because most consumers put products on incorrectly, the true SPF numbers are often skewed, said Ms. Zielinski. "We have a product that is SPF 45 and our doctors say this is fine because consumers do not apply products that use SPF correctly. So products with SPF 30 really give the coverage of a properly applied SPF 15 or 20 product and a SPF 45 gives the protection of a properly applied SPF 30," she said.
For Estée Lauder, the concern is not for the products but the packaging. "Label problems are a concern but we’ll deal with them. An example of the problem is that on lipstick, for the labeling that is needed, the packaging is too small," said Dr. Maes, who stated that Lauder will continue to research as before and not worry about those ramifications.
Dr. Mausner of Chanel is not really worried about regulation and said that research to find out what higher SPF benefits give to the skin will continue. He said that companies will be able to tell the FDA about the benefits of the new product research to change the federal agency’s regulations. "If a new product is going to protect the public, why not change the law that is being proposed? The FDA can change if we prove that new products can protect better," he said.
Ms. Schuler said that Clarins is also taking a wait-and-see approach to the FDA action. She does see merit, though, in looking at the SPF claims. "SPF claims became Americanized, as more and more companies started claiming bigger numbers. It looks as if the FDA just wants to put a stop to it and make it more manageable."
Arden’s Mr. Drogi said that because this industry, like many others, marches to the tune of consumer demands, the high demand for SPF products practically ensures that the supply of SPF products on the market will continue to increase. "Even though federal regulations on sunscreen claims and ingredients have only recently been finalized, the majority of these regulations have actually served the industry as tentative guidelines for many years; the SPF-testing requirements are by and large not new. As a result, (the new regulations) should not reduce the use of SPF claims and ingredients."
In the end, all the sun care experts agreed that for consumers to maintain healthy skin, the use of UV protectants in skin care products is a must.