Playing Defense

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | August 29, 2011

When it comes to daily skin care products, UV protection has become a must-have component.

For many dermatologists, the ABCs of a great skin care regimen start with UV—UV protection, that is.

In fact, when it comes to keeping a youthful glow, experts insist the best offense is a good defense—and that means keeping the sun’s harmful rays at bay, even when there’s no beach in sight.

“Adding SPF to a daily skin care regimen is a must. Just daily exposure to UVB and UVA rays on the way to the office or running errands, over time, can provide sufficient cumulative damage to the skin to result in the formation of key signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles,” said Helen Knaggs, Ph.D., vice president of global R&D for Nu Skin personal care. “In fact, this low level, cumulative exposure can be far more damaging to the skin than spending time at the beach.”

Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, a clinical instructor at the University of California, San Francisco who has a private dermatology practice in Danville, CA, agrees.

“It is vital to practice daily sun protection, rain or shine, 365 days a year,” she told Happi. “Sun protective products with broad spectrum sunscreen offer good protection. A tip I have is to layer it with other sun protection products such as makeup or dual acting moisturizer and sunscreen.”

Skin experts want consumers to take seasonality out of their sun protection routines. Proper protection shouldn’t be shelved with the swimsuits during colder months.

“SPF is extremely important on a year-round basis. Even in the depths of winter, we must protect our skin from the sun’s damaging rays. This is our best defense against aging,” added Anthony Vesnaver, marketing manager, Sarah McNamara’s Miracle Skin Transformer, New York.

Docs have been pushing the sun protection message for years, and it appears that consumers are finally getting the message—one that was first unveiled decades ago. Back then, the talk about sun protection centered on traditional sunscreen products used during prolonged sun exposure; the concept of promoting SPF in daily skin care developed more slowly. Johnson & Johnson, for example, rolled out Neutrogena Original Moisture, SPF 5 in 1983.

Nowadays, it is much more commonplace to see a SPF factor on a pack, whether it is a moisturizer, an anti-aging lotion or even a liquid foundation.

According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), the number of face/neck care skin care product launches in the US with a “functional-UV protection” claim rose from 186 in 2009 to 200 in 2010. So far this year, the category appears to be on a similar pace. Through July 26, 154 have been rolled out, according to Mintel. The number of body skin care products with a UV claim has also been ticking upward, rising from 25 in 2009 to 34 in 2010—although through July 26 of this year, just three products were tracked by the market research firm.

Not Your Mother’s Sun Protection

La Roche-Posay’s Redermic [+] UV Intensive Daily Anti-Wrinkle Firming Fill-In Care with SPF 25 is a wrinkle-filling treatment with broad-spectrum sun protection.

And while consumers are savvier about the damage the sun’s rays can inflict, the overall proliferation of daily skin care SKUs with SPF ratings can also be traced back to improved aesthetics. That telltale “white nose” lifeguard look is a thing of the past, according to experts in the field.

“A decade ago it was hard to get a 15 into a product; it was a chemical engineering problem,” said New York-based dermatologist Dr. Darrel Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center and lead author of “Cancer of the Skin,” a well-known textbook on the subject.

“UV protection no longer leaves a white residue on the skin, or feels heavy in texture,” noted Vesnaver. “New formulations in UV protection offer easier application and textures to products. Without these innovations in engineering, we wouldn’t be able to get the final payoff in the naturally derived silicone base which Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF20 provides,” he said about his company’s latest offering. Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF20 is said to deliver full UVA/UVB protection in a formulation that also boasts caffeine encapsulated microspheres, blue-green algae, jojoba oil and hyaluronic acids, according to the company, which was recently acquired by Atlantic Coast Media Group, maker of Hydraxatone.

Constant messaging about its importance and much improved aesthetics have elevated an SPF rating to a must-have component in daily skin care. Many of today’s formulations offer higher levels of protection than in years past—15s and 30s are commonplace in moisturizers and makeup these days—and accompanying ingredients provide a powerful one-two punch against the visible signs of aging.

For example, in a clinical trial of Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer with SPF 30, 100% of subjects showed an improvement in the look of their stressed skin with a reduction in roughness and blotchiness in just two weeks, according to the Johnson & Johnson brand. The SKU, which rolled out earlier this year, also protects against environmental stressors as well.

Better skin coupled with sun protection is also on tap at naturals marketer Jason. The company touts Jason C-Effects Pure Natural Anti-Wrinkle Day Lotion SPF 30 Sunscreen. It is billed as a new anti-wrinkle moisture lotion and one of the first in the natural channel to feature SPF 30 for daily use. A multi-antioxidant complex features Ester-C, vitamin C and thioctic acid to help minimize the effects of sun, stress and time, while replenishing critical moisture levels.

More recently, La Roche-Posay rolled out Redermic [+] UV Intensive Daily Anti-Wrinkle Firming Fill-In Care with SPF 25, billed as the first wrinkle-filling treatment with broad-spectrum sun protection to combat the effects of“micro-inflammatory” aging. Building on the success of Redermic [+], company officials say this latest product offers a three-pronged approach to anti-aging via ingredients to fight the signs of aging, the micro-inflammatory stress that causes it and UV exposure—a main trigger of that stress.

According to Peter Foltis, director, L’Oréal USA, scientific affairs-skin care, the micro-inflammatory stress model of aging is based on the observation that all factors which contribute to the acceleration of the aging process have one thing in common: the capacity to trigger synthesis of Intercellular Adhesion Molecules-1 (ICAM-1) by the endothelial cells. Each phenomenon that causes synthesis of ICAM-1 can be considered to be a factor of skin aging. The upregulation of ICAM-1 to a variety of stimuli starts an intricate cascade of biological effects at the cellular level causing an inflammatory response, “thus ICAM-1 is a sensitive biomarker for inflammation,” Foltis said.

“We have observed that UV light upregulates the production of ICAM-1. UV induced ‘micro-inflammatory’ reactions might also participate in skin aging, particularly by generating oxygen reactive species,” he continued.

Specifically, Redermic[+] UV Intensive Daily Anti-Wrinkle Firming Fill-In Care with SPF 25 features Neurosensine, a calming ingredient that inhibits neuro mediator production in nerve endings to neutralize inflammation; 5% pure and stable vitamin C to boost collagen; Madecassoside, which fills in deep wrinkles by regenerating dermal fibers; and a patented combination of octocrylene with avobenzone which provides photostable broad spectrum protection. Octisalate provides additional UVB protection.

“The novelty of the patent involves the association of octocrylene and avobenzone in specific ratios and allows for the photo-stabilization of avobenzone,” Foltis told Happi. “During the development phase, our chemists are acutely aware of aesthetics of the final formula. Along the way, many prototypes are made and tested to optimize the final texture and aesthetic properties.”

Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF20 provides UVA/UVB protection.

From Institut’ DERMed comes Brightening Moisturizer SPF28, billed as a hydrator that provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection to prevent discoloration and premature aging.

“Octinoxate and oxybenzone are highly efficient ultraviolet shields that the FDA has qualified as Category I sunscreens. These compounds primarily offer protection against UVB waves. Researchers have found that octinoxate, also known as octyl methoxycinnamate, protects the skin against not only sunburn but also UV light-induced DNA alterations,” said Lyn Ross, founder and CEO of Institut’ DERMed.

For Ross, the ingredients’ aesthetics and performance are key attributes in her formulation.

“These widely used sun filters are non-irritating and absorb quickly and easily into the skin whereas zinc oxide can be white, thick and not cosmetically elegant to wear during the day under makeup,” she said, adding that while zinc and TiO2 also demonstrate a DNA-protective effect, “scientists compared the efficacy of several sunscreen agents and found that preparations containing oxybenzone yielded the highest SPF values. Thus, octinoxate and oxybenzone may help protect against UV-light induced DNA changes and boost the SPF of sunscreen products.”

Earlier this year, MD Moms rolled out Baby Silk Daily UV Shield, an SPF 30+ moisturizing lotion that provides UVB/UVA protection in a hypoallergenic and fragrance- and paraben-free formulation designed for mother and baby. It harnesses the protective attributes of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as safest for young infants, even under six months of age, according to the company. At the American Academy of Dermatology’s recent Summer Meeting in New York City, MD Moms founder Dr. JJ Levenstein pointed out other benefits which are critical to skin care, such as its ability to nourish via antioxidant vitamins E and B5, grapeseed oil and avocado oil.

UV Protection and Acne Care

Institut’ DERMed’s Brightening Moisturizer SPF28 hydrates and provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

UV protection should be a critical component in the skin care regimens of young and old alike, but there are sensitive populations with specific needs who often have a harder time incorporating products into their routine. For instance, many acne suffers eschew daily sun protection.

“UV is often forgotten by acne sufferers because they don’t understand the importance of sunscreen while treating acne with different acne medicines. When using an acne medicine, the skin may become sensitive to the sun,” noted Kimber Maderazzo, SVP, global product development product research and formula development, Proactiv. The sun, she said, can cause and may exacerbate, unsightly discolorations such as dark spots, freckles, age spots and other skin discolorations—and sunscreens help prevent new ones from forming.

The Guthy-Renker brand is tackling the acne care/sun protection issue with new Proactiv Acne & Dark Spot Repair system, which is designed to help clear skin and gradually fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The protocol features in the brand’s well-known three-step system (cleanser, toner and treatment), plus a spot corrector with 2% hydroquinone and Proactiv Daily Protection Plus Sunscreen SPF 30, which is specifically designed for acne prone skin.

Researchers at P&G are on a similar quest to answer the sun protection needs of acne sufferers.

“UV protection is an often overlooked aspect of daily skin care for many women— no matter the skin type or condition. This is especially true for women with acne-prone skin as they often times refer to their skin as sensitive skin,” said P&G Beauty senior scientist Rolanda Johnson.

According to Johnson, for those with acne-prone skin, there is often a tendency to use fewer facial products as well as products that are oil free or oil controlling.

“Since some SPF moisturizers can feel heavy and oily on skin, depending on the UV active ingredient and the product’s formulation, those with acne may sometimes shy away from UV protection,” she said.

The company’s new acne-specific solutions come via the new Olay Pro-X Clear acne range, which rolled out in July. The roster includes Olay Professional Pro-X Clear SPF 15 Moisturizer, a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer that helps protect against UVA/UVB, as well as Olay Professional Pro-X Clear Oil-Control/Oil-Balancing SPF 15 Moisturizer.

According to Johnson, the SPF moisturizers not only help protect against UVA/ UVB rays that can damage skin and cause premature aging, but can also contain ingredients such as sodium dehydroacetate, an ingredient shown to help reduce sebum production as well as reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and uneven texture.

“Moreover, SPF moisturizers, such as Olay Professional Pro-X Clear SPF 15 Moisturizer within the new Olay Professional Pro-X Clear line, are designed to work in tandem with an acne protocol regimen are also formulated to be non-comedogenic and oil free—a must for acne prone skin,” Johnson said.


This Aveeno moisturizer with SPF 30 battles blotchiness.

Continual research is driving a deeper understanding of UV-induced skin damage, which is, in turn, leading formulators to design more efficacious products.

According to Knaggs, there are two notable findings of recent years that have extended the understanding of how damage from the sun occurs. “Firstly, skin damage can be caused by all wavelengths of light and therefore modern sunscreens will need to incorporate technology which can shield the skin from these rays,” she said, noting that Nu Skin has collaborated with Lipo Chemicals and published data on a novel melanin derivative to shield skin from high energy visible light. “Second, no technology will provide complete protection from the damaging effects of light and therefore it is important to provide antioxidants to the skin, as well as other actives incorporating ingredients which can assist in DNA repair.”

As an example, Knaggs pointed to Nu Skin 180° Night Cream, which includes light activated photosomes—DNA enzymes (phytolyase) derived from plankton that defend and support the skin’s intrinsic DNA repair process, and Moisture Restore Day Protective Lotion SPF 15, which feature UV light activated colorless carotenoids to provide a powerful antioxidant protection against the environment.

Playing by the Rules

As advances in sun protection have advanced steadily over the years, many have suggested that the US Food and Drug Administration hasn’t kept pace with these innovations.

But change is coming. On June 17, FDA announced new rules for sunscreen testing and labeling. The announcement has major implications for sunscreen products as well as daily skin care products and cosmetics labeled with sunscreen claims, including an SPF value.

For the specifics on the FDA announcement and its implications, log onto an archive of Happi.com’s recent webinar, “What’s the Latest Word on Sunscreens?” More than 1,200 people registered for this online event, which was held Aug. 11 and provided an extensive look ay the new rule from Reynold Tan, from the office of nonprescription products/division of nonprescription regulation CDER at FDA, as well as an active Q&A discussion. Additional insight on the FDA rule can also be found on p. 50 in this issue’s “The Sunscreen Filter,” written by Happi columnist Nadim Shaath.

“With the new monograph, it will be standard practice to have a broad spectrum claim for all SPF products,” said Foltis of L’Oréal USA. “We will continue to see the trend of the addition of UV protection into daily treatment formulae to create a variety of multi-tasking products and in the end, enhance the results.”

Skin care and cosmetic marketers touting products making SPF claims and offering UV protection have some work to do in the lab and the packaging design department to be in compliance and maintain aesthetics that consumers expect of today’s modern formulations.

“Some of the hurdles we face are achieving the broad spectrum claim with the new sunscreen monograph while still maintain the aesthetics one expects with daily care,” Foltis said. “In other words, having the protection of a beach product with the aesthetics of daily care.”

Antioxidants and Sunscreens

At the American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer Academy Meeting 2011 held in New York in early August, dermatologist Steven Q. Wang, MD, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge, NJ, presented results from a study on sunscreens and antioxidants. The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that in addition to protecting the skin from UV exposure that causes skin cancer, current broad-spectrum sunscreen products offer protection from free radicals—molecules that cause skin damage and aging—and the majority of the protection is from UV filters rather than antioxidants.

Environmental exposure such as UV radiation, pollution and smoking all can contribute to the development of free radicals in the body, which can cause skin damage and aging. In young, healthy skin, the body uses a sophisticated defense system to absorb free radicals; whereas, in older individuals this defense system can be depleted. When the body’s own defense isn’t working as it should, free radicals build up from UV exposure and other environmental sources, and can lead to skin damage and wrinkles.

The research found that a product with high UVA protection blocks or absorbs more harmful radiation from the UVA spectrum and reduces the total amount of free radicals generated in the skin, noted Wang.
Exposure to UVA rays and UVB rays can lead to the development of skin cancer. This is why choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects the skin from both types of rays is so important.

Wang added that the FDA new sunscreen rules would make it easier for consumers to make informed decisions about choosing sunscreens with UVA and UVB protection.

According to Wang, sunscreens that filter UV rays are providing passive protection by absorbing or reflecting harmful UV rays from the skin. By adding antioxidants to sunscreens, Wang believes that these combination sunscreens could offer a second, active level of protection. While not necessary for UV protection, the antioxidants could boost the body’s natural antioxidant reserve and stop any free radicals generated from UV that pass through the filters.

“Adding antioxidants to sunscreen is an innovative approach that could represent the next generation of sunscreens, which would not only filter UV radiation, but also offer other tangible skin health benefits,” said Wang in a statement. “Theoretically, supplementing sunscreens with antioxidants could boost the body’s natural defense against the formation of UVA-induced free radicals; therefore serving as a second layer of protection against UV radiation that passes through the first layer of UV protection.”

Due to the unstable nature of antioxidants when added to sunscreens and that there is no single test to sufficiently measure their concentrations, Wang stressed that it was a challenging task to determine the final concentration of antioxidants in each product and differentiate their free radical protection.

“This is an exciting area of research in sunscreens. However, we believe further study is needed to gauge the benefits of incorporating antioxidants in sunscreens,” he explained.

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