UV Protection's No Longer a Day at the Beach

November 11, 2005

UV protection's not just for sun care products anymore. More skin care products provide a defense against UVA and UVB rays and with the addition of antioxidants, they help UV-damaged skin recover more quickly.

Popular procedures such as Botox and collagen injections may be making headlines, but in the war against aging, products that defend against ultraviolet (UV) radiation are often the first and most important defense to keep skin looking young and healthy. As a result, materials that protect against UVA and UVB rays are being incorporated into a wide range of skin care and color cosmetics products.

Vitalumiére, Chanel’s new makeup, provides UV protection.

In fact, UV protection is no longer considered an extra benefit to a skin care product. Instead, it has become a cost of entry for many personal care product manufacturers. No matter what the price point or the retail channel, nearly every skin care line on drug store shelves and department store counters includes SKUs that provide some level of UV protection.

"Five years ago, incorporating UV protection into a skin care product or foundation was considered an added benefit," noted Annette Falso, vice president, new product development at Chanel. "Now consumers are so knowledgeable about UV protection I think they expect it. So if you're formulating any daytime product it should have UV protection. It's very common."

So common, in fact, that marketers have expanded the role that UV protection plays in skin care and have put sunscreens and blocks into lipsticks, hair care products and even men's products. At the same time, cosmetic chemists are hard at work, looking for materials that can improve sun-damaged skin and help healthy skin fight off the damage from UV before it takes its toll.

Chemical or Physical?
Cosmetic chemists may choose from chemical sunscreens such as avobenzone or physical sunblocks such as titanium dioxide, or a combination of both, when formulating a personal care product with UV protection. Both classes of materials have their supporters.

"Chemical sunscreens are by far much easier to work with, they are easy to incorporate into a formulation and you don't have the issues of whitening like you do with titanium dioxide," noted Harvey Gedeon, senior vice president, research and development, The Estée Lauder Companies. "Sensitivity issues surround chemical sunscreens, but you can put a film former on the skin to avoid contact with the chemical sunscreen."

Mr. Gedeon noted that Estée Lauder is developing an encapsulated chemical sunscreen that is based on proprietary ingredients. Although he wouldn't elaborate on the encapsulation technique, he did note that wax-based systems are effective. He told Happi that a new encapsulated sunscreen product from Estée Lauder will debut in 2003.

Julio Russ, senior vice president, research and development, Almay Skincare, pointed out that it is easier to work with physical blocks when developing formulas with botanicals. "Though some Almay products contain chemical sunscreens and physical blockers, the latter are easier to work with," said Mr. Russ.

At the same time, he noted that it is easier to formulate skin care creams with UV absorbers or blockers than it is to incorporate UV protectants into color cosmetics. "When formulating color products with UV absorbers and blockers, we must take into account the effect of the these ingredients on the overall opacity and color intensity of the formula," he said.

Beyond Sunscreen
Although chemical and physical sunscreens are the primary defense against UV-induced skin damage, several marketers noted that protecting the skin involves other classes of materials as well. "We're working on other things besides sunscreens-they're only part of the story," noted Mr. Gedeon. "We're working with many materials that can help skin protect itself from the effects of UV light."

More and more lipsticks, such as Almay's new Lip Vitality Smothing Lipcolor with Kinetin, contain ingredients to protect lips from the harmful effects of UV rays.

For example, Estée Lauder re-searchers have found that antioxidants, especially green and white tea, go a long way in helping the skin protect itself from UV rays. That's because antioxidants have a reservoir effect in the skin and may boost the effectiveness of traditional sunscreen formulations.

"One of the other things we're researching is immune protection, which can get suppressed by UV light," noted Mr. Gedeon. "So we're looking at things that boost immune protection and fight UV damage and the damage caused by other environmental effects such as ozone."

Mr. Gedeon pointed out that Estée Lauder's new DayWear products scheduled for introduction next year provide protection against UV rays and ozone even as they provide a boost to the immune system and act as free radical scavengers.

"UV probably has the most damaging effect on the skin, but we've proven how smoking affects the skin and the role ozone plays in creating free radicals," concluded Mr. Gedeon. "Our goal is to protect the skin through the use of sunscreen and help the body react to other influences, such as ozone, in a normal manner."

The R&D staff at Almay considers kinetin and matrixyl to be effective antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients, noted Mr. Russ. In June 2001, Almay introduced a novel skin care line at mass-Almay Kinetin Skincare Anti-Aging series. These formulas are demonstrated in clinical studies to reverse the signs of aging, and with SPF 15 help prevent future damage.

Avon recently added Redefine Airbrush Foundation SPF 10 to its beComing line of products sold in retail channels. The product is to be used in tandem with the new Transfirm Contouring Treatment, according to Avon. Together, the two give a sculpted, airbrushed look to the skin.

The vitamin C found in Pro-Vita C Plus helps UV-damaged skin heal faster, according to the manufacturer

Both products contain Avon's exclusive 3-D Sculpting complex, which is said to protect, repair and prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin. The pair also contain Avon's exclusive Lumin8 complex. This patent-pending technology helps skin cope with a variety of problems including stress, pollution and hormonal fluctuations.

In fact, Avon insists the two products work together to make skin feel and look firmer, younger and visibly sculpted, "like a mini-lift."

Almay's Lip Vitality contains vitamins A, C and E, all of them are natural antioxidants that prevent damage from free radicals which are caused by UVA/UVB rays and by environmental pollutants. The product, available in 20 shades, also contains kinetin, a plant-derived anti-aging ingredient that Almay insists is just as effective as AHA and retinoids, but with no irritation. Lip Vitality also includes white birch bark extract to help condition and smooth fine lines and aloe, a natural balm and conditioner that helps the skin hold moisture.

Although it makes perfect sense for a foundation or daytime moisturizer to contain UV protection, not every skin care and cosmetic category is a good candidate for adding UV protection. That's the case when it comes to toners, cleansers and other skin care products that get rinsed off immediately after application.

Anthony Logistics for Men markets several UV-based skin care products.

Daytime skin care and foundations continue to be important categories for UV protection, according to Ms. Falso of Chanel. She noted that Chanel has even put UV protection in lipsticks, such as Hydracaresse lipstick, which contains an SPF of 15.

This month, Chanel will launch Pro Correcteur, a concealer with SPF 15. What makes it unique, said Ms. Falso, is that the light formula will not cake around the eye. Chanel researchers created the lightweight concealer by combing different oils with plant waxes and extracts of green tea and vitamin E. Pro Correcteur also contains light-reflecting pigments to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Chanel's new Vitalumiére Satin Smoothing fluid makeup foundation with SPF 15 contains a chemical sunscreen. Vitalumiére, which debuts this month, provides good coverage, smooths out lines and wrinkles and helps protect skin. According to Chanel, the water-in-oil emulsion glides on easily and contains brown algae to help stimulate the skin surface.

With an emphasis on promoting healthy skin, more and more skin care products are incorporating a range of materials that boast antioxidant properties. In fact, one manufacturer insists its skin care range has so many active ingredients it simply doesn't have the room in the formulation to add UV protectants.

Re-storation Skin Treatment, marketed by Z. Bigatti of St. Paul, MN, contains a range of antioxidants including grapeseed, green tea, superoxide dismutase and vitamins A and E. The line is so chock full of materials that the creator couldn't find room for avobenzone, TiO2 or any other type of UV protectant.

"We don't incorporate UV blockers in any of our products because we have many active ingredients," said Rebecca Petersen, a company spokesperson. "Quite honestly, there wasn't room in the formulation for that."

She explained that company founder, dermatologist Jennifer Bigelow, insists on using high levels of actives in all her products.

Still, Ms. Petersen told Happi that Z. Bigatti plans to launch a traditional sun care line in the near future. "(Sun care) is a very important component of skin care," she noted.

Other manufacturers, however, manage to pack a host of materials, along with UV protectants, into their skin care formulas. For example, Olay's Total Effects line contains UVA and UVB protectants along with moisturizers and VitaNiacin-a unique combination of vitamin E, pro-vitamin B5 and niacinamide.

"Consumers expect UV protection from their anti-aging products," explained Anita Kerns, a Procter & Gamble spokesperson. "Women need to know that it is critical for their moisturizer to provide protection."

According to Ms. Kerns, 80% of skin damage caused by UV exposure occurs on the face, so consumers should use a moisturizer with SPF as soon as possible. Moreover, while Ms. Kerns acknowledged that SPF 15 is the most common level of UV protection in a skin care product, there are indications that even more protection may become the standard.

"Whether the trend is being driven by the consumer or by the industry, we're seeing indications that SPF 30 is becoming more valued by the consumer," she said. (For more on the newest addition to the Total Effects line, turn to p. 76 in this issue.)

Innovative skin care products aren't the sole province of multinationals. In fact, Peter Lamas, founder of Lamas Botanicals, Los Angeles, insists his Pro-Vita-C Plus skin treatment is one of the most effective skin care products available. It contains vitamin C, which Mr. Lamas insists does an excellent job of reducing redness and swelling that is associated with UV exposure.

More for Men
He maintained that ester of vitamin C, at a level of 10%, does a better job of reducing swelling than green tea. Mr. Lamas said he prefers the ester form of vitamin C to the l-ascorbic acid because it is more powerful and does not irritate skin.

Looking ahead, Mr. Lamas said he is developing a mist with SPF 30 protection. "Women don't want to put SPF creams on their faces because they tend to be greasy and can clog pores," explained Mr. Lamas. "The product that we're developing is just like putting water on your face, but it adheres quickly to the skin."

He expects to introduce the SPF 30 mist within the next year.

Men too, are becoming more concerned about moisturizing and protecting their skin. Anthony Logistics for Men offers nearly 50 personal grooming products for guys. Three of them, Facial Moisturizer, Sun Spray for the body and a Sun Stick for lip and undereye treatment, provide SPF 15 protection.

Anthony Sosnick, president of the company, said the company is developing a facial moisturizer with SPF 30 and he's confident that when it debuts next year, it will find a loyal following among health-conscious men.

"There's a huge wave of men doing healthy things like exercising and eating right," noted Mr. Sosnick. "The job market is becoming more competitive and people want to look and feel younger."

Although wearing skin care products that provide UVA and UVB protection may not make a man or woman look younger, they most certainly protect skin and keep it looking healthy.

Let There be Light:
A New Weapon In the War on Wrinkles
Sometimes a little light can be a good thing. A Fort Worth, TX dermatologist has found that the use of an intense pulsed light source instead of the use of a resurfacing laser is effective in the reduction of wrinkles, vascular flushing (due to rosacea) and the effects of sun damage. The inventor of the process, Dr. Peter J. Malouf, calls his technique Photo-Rejuvenation. It requires no anesthesia and results in no visual wounding of the skin. Photo-Rejuvenation works by allowing certain wavelengths of light to penetrate the skin through a crystal measuring 1-1/2 x 1/2 inches, thereby causing heat to be transferred to small blood vessels responsible for causing redness or flushing.

Also, simultaneous heating and reformation of new collagen allows for reduction in wrinkles and tightening of the skin. This procedure can be performed within a short period of time with no anesthesia or down time, insisted Dr. Malouf.