News

  • Get Sun Smart

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    Like many people, childhood holidays were always spent on the beach, where young tender skin was exposed to the elements sun up to sun down. Mum’s beach bag contained the ‘Sun Oil’ and her first-aid bag the calamine lotion. If only we had known then what we know now about the dangers of the sun.

    Believe it or not, there are many people that are still uninformed about the importance of sun protection. Here are some common questions (or excuses) that we often hear from clients with ways to explain or debunk myths about sun safety.

    Q: The sun will dry up my spots.
    A: FALSE
    As you unwind on the beach and relax, stress hormones will begin to level out and eventually dwindle. As acne is exacerbated by stress, it makes sense that as we relax, acne may improve. You may be in and out of salt water and chlorine, which can also dry up spots. Overall it may seem that acne breakouts have cleared…wrong! The heat and often clogging sunscreens will cause oil to speed up production and skin to be in overdrive, leaving you with the same issues. There are plenty of SPF options for oily or acneic skins that will not clog but rather keep skin hydrated, while prevent more serious UV damage. Seek relaxation but avoid the sun!

    Q: I only need sunscreen when it’s sunny.
    A: FALSE
    UVA rays are the longest rays in the spectrum and penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin all year round, including winter months. UVA rays cause damage at a cellular level, making them responsible for most skin cancers and the main cause of visible aging in the form of wrinkles, sagging and sun spots. Other signs of damage are small blood vessels and spider veins on the face, neck and chest. UVA also goes through glass including most car windows and is present on cloudy days as well as sunny days. Protecting daily with a Broad Spectrum (filters both UVA and UVB) sunscreen should be included in everyone’s skin care regime.

    Q: How much sunscreen do you need for a face and neck application?
    A: FULL TEASPOON
    A full teaspoon for face and neck is a good rough guide—though it’s better to be more generous than to skimp. More importantly, to ensure an SPF is doing its job it needs to be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, so don’t wait until you are on the beach before applying. Remember you need to re-apply regularly, especially if swimming, sweating or if removing with a towel, think about when eating drinking and wiping your mouth.

    Q: The SPF in my makeup protects my skin.
    A: FALSE
    The problem with relying on the SPF in your makeup is that you’re just not getting enough of it. You should wear at least an SPF of 15, but an SPF of 30 is ideal and topped up every 2 hours. The easiest solution is to use a moisturiser or primer (or both!) that also contain sunscreen. It’s fine to have sunscreen in your makeup, but consider it an added bonus, not your main safeguard.

    Q: Two layers of SPF15 make an SPF30. 
    A: FALSE 
    Adding another layer on top of an existing layer of sunscreen does not double the sun protection factor. Two layers of an SPF 15 sunscreen remains an SPF 15 and does not become an SPF 30. Re-apply every 2 hours if outside in summer months or on holiday in the sun.

  • Climate Control: Adapting the Skin to Global Seasons

    Maria ThorburnMost people love the idea of hopping on a plane and jetting off to explore a faraway land. There’s nothing quite like travel to invigorate the senses with new sights and smells, to taste exotic foods and experience a different culture…but often with another country, comes another climate and in turn a very different skin than the one you’re familiar with.

    I am very fortunate to have a job that sees me travel much of the year, and when I’m not travelling for work I’m travelling for my own enjoyment. So I know only too well that when I climb on board an airplane I can expect my skin to go from smooth and dewy to dull and dehydrated, and that’s before we’ve even hit the runway!

    With the year drawing to a close and the holidays on the horizon, many of our clients will have plans to go away for some well-deserved R&R. Whether it’s a trip to a warmer climate in search of some sun, sea and sand, or perhaps to a winter wonderland with snow-capped mountains and log fires—your client’s skin health will most likely be challenged by the change in climate.

    As skin therapists we need to be mindful of these subtle changes so that we can make the necessary adjustments to their skin care routine.

    Handling the Heat

    hawaii coupleIf there is one piece of advice you can give your client it would be to never go without SPF! The allure of the sun on their shoulders and toes in the sand might be too much to resist; but remember that the sun is a primary cause of aging and pigmentation, and in this instance prevention is better than cure. Be sure that they protect their skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF30, or SPF50 for even greater protection. And if you suspect they will succumb to splashing about in the pool or sea be sure to advise them of the importance of reapplying the SPF regularly and liberally to avoid sunburn and severe damage to their skin.

    Some of your clients may also find that their skin becomes shiny and produces more oil than usual or perhaps they become more prone to breakouts, this can happen in a hot and humid environment where the sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce excess sebum. In this case you need to arm them with a mattifying serum with ingredients like Sarcosine and Niacinamide to suppress excess oil production, teamed with a good spot treatment containing Colloidal Silver and Tea Tree, which together, provide anti-bacterial properties to soothe away inflammation and speed up the healing process.

    These key products will help your clients get through a summer holiday looking more sleek and less ‘slick’.

    A Cooler Climate

    frosty lashesFor those seeking out some snow for the holidays, or perhaps live in a cooler climate, will find that the cold weather can be most unkind to the skin and zap every last bit of moisture from it. And when it’s cold there’s only one thing to do…crank up the heating! This alone brings a whole host of additional skin concerns for us to battle against.

    Cold weather can potentially do more damage to the skin than heat. It can deplete essential lipids from the skin’s barrier, which in turn leads to water loss and dehydration leaving the skin parched and flaky. Recommend that your client use a thick emollient moisturizer and barrier cream that contain ingredients like Evening Primrose Oil or Shea Butter to help replenish and protect.

    Another structure of the skin that takes a beating are the delicate capillaries that constantly expand and contract due to a combination of hot and cold temperatures as we move from outdoors to indoors—this is what causes those trademark red cheeks and nose. This ongoing action in the skin can lead to capillary damage, but by using a hydrating soothing serum that contains Red Raspberry and Honey, we can reduce inflammation and strengthen capillaries making them more resilient in extreme weather conditions.

    Adapting To the Seasons

    So whether it’s travel or the inevitable change in seasons, it will more than likely leave its mark on the skin. Our key objective is to ensure that our clients’ skin is equipped to make a smooth transition and adapt to the change. By listening to our client’s skin needs and observing visual changes through skin analysis, we can adjust their regimen to better manage the way in which their skin responds to environmental changes and the elements. Whatever the weather, we can rest assured that our clients will have healthy and happy skin throughout the year!

  • Get Bikini Wax Ready

    wax-sunny-beach-girl

    With the summer months just around the corner, many people are looking forward to spending time at the beach or the pool, and for some – they are mentally preparing for their bikini wax. Whether your client is veteran of hair removal or is new to this grooming habit, here are some quick tips to ensure your client has a safe and successful treatment.

    Meet and Greet

    When booking the waxing service, be sure to ask the client when they are expecting to unveil their skin to the sun. Ideally, the client should wait to wax at least 48 hours before or after any UV exposure. A proper consultation is imperative and it will help you assess any contraindications, such as infected skin, systemic diseases, diabetes and oral medications like Isotretinoin. Don’t forget to communicate the extent of hair removal with the client. Going bare or barely there can determine not only the length of the appointment but the type of wax you may want to use (hard wax versus strip wax). Soft or cream wax is perfect for larger areas and hard wax is excellent for those intimate areas since it is used at a low temperature. This wax literally shrink wraps the hair and is less irritating to the skin. It’s also a perfect time to discuss common reactions expected with a waxing service such as bumps or minor irritation. For females close to their monthly cycle, it’s recommended to wax no less than two-three days before or after to help lessen chances of sensitivity.

    Pre-game Checklist

    Once the appointment has been booked, the client should begin preparing for the treatment. I’m not talking meditation, but a few grooming items can make the service go smoothly. Suggest the client gently exfoliate the area two to three days prior to the service to help lift the hair and remove any dead skin cell build up. Shaving should be discontinued 10-14 days prior to allow for the proper hair growth, about ¼” to ½” is ideal. They should also keep hydrated both internally with water and externally with a fragrance-free body moisturizer. The more hydrated the skin, the better the waxing experience. Dehydrated and dry skin can often result in lifting. Advise the client to avoid alcohol and caffeine before the service as both can serve as a stimulant and pre-sensitize the skin.

    After-care Advice 

    The waxing service does not end once the hair has been removed. An at-home care checklist is always helpful for the client to review and understand. For 48 hours after the bikini wax, recommend that they avoid sun tanning and tanning beds, saunas, or swimming as well as intense exercise, sweating and tight clothing. Do suggest light exfoliation a few times a week in between their services to help prevent ingrown hairs. Once the client is waxed and ready for fun in the sun, remind them to apply sunscreen along that exposed bikini line to avoid a UV burn.

  • Stay Sun Smart and Save a Life

    With the change in seasons we should be saying goodbye to the winter and hello to the summer.  As the sun has finally made an appearance, so has more bronzed skin, occasional peeling and maybe pink bodies? It’s not just British tradition to shrug off our clothes the minute we feel a few rays, but after years of warnings about skin cancer, shouldn’t we have learned our lesson?

    At the beginning of this year our team’s focus has been to share our knowledge about solar damage and protection. We have been very busy taking IDI congresses on the road, travelling and educating markets in Europe, Africa & Middle East on such a valuable subject.

    As professional skin therapists, we still face the challenge of educating people that daylight protection is a must for any skin, any race and should be used daily. Even though consumers may feel good from the sun’s rays, do they look good? And are they aware of the huge risk of skin cancer? In the UK, the number of reported cases of skin cancer has more than quadrupled since the 1970s and over 2,600 people die from skin cancer each year — but this increase is on a global scale. The highest rates of malignant melanoma are reported in Australia and New Zealand.

    Not only do we have to deal with such shocking facts, we are also faced with the constant bombardment of TV celebrities showing off their tanned skin and the general perception that tanned skin is more desirable, teens, especially girls, are purposefully avoiding sun protection and some are even seeking the sun. This has become such a problem that some countries have adopted a law banning underage people from visiting tanning salons. That’s why our job as a professional skin therapist is more important than ever. Not only are we experts on treating the skin but we must also become experts in educating consumers on using daily protection.

    Here are some expert tips from our IDI team that you can share with your clients:

    “A great tool to download is the mole map from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). You can give this to your clients as a hand out for prevention against skin cancer.” – Geraldine Schefermann, IDI UK International Regional Education Manager

    “Don’t forget to apply your SPF daily for protection, even on a cloudy day. Apply your sunscreen to all skin (face, ears, hands, neck, etc.). You can even apply as lip balm to your lips. Look for a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, as this will protect against UVA and UVB rays. The label must say broad-spectrum or UVA/UVB protection. If it does not say either, you may wish to look for another product.” – Victoria Convy, IDI UK International Corporate Trainer

    “It is advised to wear long sleeves, trousers, tightly woven fabrics, wide brim hat and large sunglasses that absorb UV. You can purchase clothes that have a UPF rating (ultraviolet protection factor) that blocks out both UVA and UVB (SPF is just UVB). Some fabrics do a better job than others; polyester is excellent, whereas cotton and rayon score low. UPF50 indicates a fabric or garment will allow only 1/50th (approximately 2%) radiation to pass through.” – Sharon Maxwell, IDI UK International Education Manager for Europe, Africa & Middle East

    “Don’t forget that whilst driving you can also catch the sun. A great idea is to keep an SPF product in the glove box of your car. You can then apply as needed, especially to the backs of your hands whilst driving” – Maria Thorburn, IDI UK International Senior Instructor

    “When you are near water, snow, or at the beach, watch out as reflection can increase the intensity of UV.  Make sure you are re-applying SPF every 2 hours and immediately after swimming.” – Arabella Lane, IDI UK International Training Specialist

    For more information on sun protection and skin cancer visit:

    www.aad.org     

    www.skincancer.org   

    www.cancerresearchuk.org

     

  • The ABCDEFGs of Mole Detection

    Skin cancer is on the rise. In fact, more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancers are diagnosed annually in more than 2 million people. That’s roughly 1 in 5 people that will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. But skin cancer is just the beginning; it could lead or develop into other types of cancer. Checking for skin cancer or suspicious markings should be as easy as your ABC’s, which is the exact guide skin care experts have developed for looking for visible changes on the skin.

    With the advancement of technology there is a variety of tools available, such as the UMSkinCheck app available via iTunes. This app sends automatic reminders and offers step-by-step instructions for a skin self-exam. It also provides pictures of various types of skin cancers for comparison with any questionable markings on the skin you may encounter. But for those who aren’t as technologically savvy, the classic method of checking will still help.

    Follow the ABCDE’s of mole detection to check for potential risks and red flags:

    – Asymmetrical: an irregularly shaped mole.
    – Borders: the borders/edges of the mole are uneven.
    – Color: the mole is multi-colored.
    – Diameter: the mole is larger in diameter than 6mm (about the width of the top of a pencil).
    – Evolving: the mole has changed over time.
    – Firm: the mole is harder than surrounding tissue and doesn’t flatten if you press it.
    – Growing: the mole is getting gradually larger.

    For some there are just a few weeks left of summer; however, the prevention of skin cancer should be year round because ultraviolet (UV) rays are always present. Follow these tips for prevention and protection from UV rays:

    – Apply a teaspoon to the face and a shotglass amount to the body of a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) SPF daily (yes, everyday). Apply 30 minutes before going outside.
    – Ensure protection by wearing minimum SPF15, however SPF30 is preferable.
    – Reapply every two hours.
    – Seek shade, do not burn.
    – Exfoliate! It not only smooths and freshens skin, it helps to remove possible precancerous cells before they become dangerous.
    – Face-kinis are all the rage in Qingdao, China. This light cloth looks much like a ski mask but allows one to enjoy the water and sand without the effects of the sun, much like wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
    – Increase intake of antioxidants, fruits and vegetables. A variety of foods have been found to help minimize the attack of free-radical damage and even help protect us from the inside out. Drink moderate amounts of green tea or coffee, and consuming berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, cherries), colored peppers, red ripe tomatoes, turmeric root, and cocoa have all been found to be some of nature’s antioxidants.

    There are advances in genetic testing that can be done for those with a family history to identify potential threats and incorporate a possible vaccination. One such case is the catalytic DNA molecule (DNAzyme) that looks promising in vivo efficacy in the treatment of some types of cancer. PD1, while still in the early stages of clinical trials, is making waves as a potential for anticancer immunotherapy. Increased levels of the protein Panx1 is being further studied as a potential in treating melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer). And two studies suggest that two peptide agents used either together or individually with a low-dose of a standard chemotherapy drug might offer more effective cancer therapy than current standard single-drug treatments.

    You can still enjoy your time in the sun, just remember your sun smarts and use your ABCDEFG’s when examining your skin!

    References:

    1. Rogers, HW, Weinstock, MA, Harris, AR, et al. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):283-287

    2. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 11, 602 (August 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrd3807

    3. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 11, 601 (August 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrd3806

    4. http://www.breakthroughdigest.com/medical-news/combination-peptide-therapies-might-offer-more-effective-less-toxic-cancer-treatment/

  • Nanotechnology Q&A

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    Q: How would you summarize what exactly nanotechnology is, and how it has infiltrated the skin care world?

    A: Nanotechnology is simply the study and application of very small things. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter, and for comparison’s sake, a sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. A human hair is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter. This is a relatively new field, implemented about 30 years ago, and has permeated all aspects of modern science since then. From chocolate to computer chips, everyday products including cosmetics include nanotechnology nowadays. In skincare, nanotechnology has infiltrated the areas of anti-aging, sun protection and even make-up. The most widely studied and practiced area is in sun protection, as this technology allowed formulators to transcend the dreaded “white face” effect of 80s sunblock. Nowadays, sunscreen filters are no longer a thick block, but part of a sophisticated formula that allows for ultraviolet A and B (UVA/UVB) protection, along with other skin benefits, to be easily and transparently applied to skin.

    Q: How might nanotechnology change consumer wants and needs in anti-aging? What does it mean for product development in skincare?

    A: Nanotechnology is not yet the norm, so consumers may not even be aware that some of the products they are familiar with contain nanomaterials. Moreover, manufacturers are not required by US law to tell the US FDA whether they use nanomaterials in their products, so consumers again may not know that these are in their products. The more the technology is enhanced and advertised, the more consumers will be aware and curious about the technology and the products using it. This will mean manufacturers will have to be careful as to the nanomaterials used, as many of these do not have a lot of scientific data backing up their safety.

    Q: Why is nanotechnology important? What are some of the benefits?

    A: Nanotechnology is very important in many science fields. For example, a transdermal patch vaccine using nanosized particles would be more efficient and perhaps cheaper than a normal vaccine administered with a syringe (especially in third world or remote areas). In terms of technology, this will help with the invention of new materials that may help with space exploration, “smart” fabrics, etc. The possibilities seem to be limitless.

    Q: What are some of the detriments or possible risks of nanotechnology, and why is it controversial?

    A: Nanotechnology can be detrimental only in that we do not have a lot of scientific data supporting some of the safety of these materials. For instance, a very tiny particle may have different properties than its full-size component. This change in function may not have safety data yet and can pose risks to users. One major controversial nanomaterial in skin care is in the form of buckyballs. These are minute soccer-ball looking particles that are shown to be antioxidants, which we know from vitamins can fight premature aging of the skin. The problem is their size. Concerns around these mini-balls are that these nanoparticles may slip and potentially get into bloodstream, affecting our immune system.

    Q: Are there some uses of nanotechnology that are safer than others (for example, it appears there have been some important advances in suncare)?

    A: FDA and other global government organizations like EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) have reviewed the safety on some of the sunscreen filters that have been micronized such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. As of recent, these have been deemed safe for use as sunscreen filters on human skin. In fact, the European Nanoderm project concluded that “we do not expect any adverse health effects for the topical application of sunscreens containing TiO2 nanoparticles (especially when coated) on healthy skin which are related to the particulate state.”

    A recent Cosmetics & Toiletries article also summarized that the SCCP in 2009 found “the use of zinc oxide in its non-nano form to be safe. As a consequence, micronized zinc oxide was approved for use as UV filter, e.g. in Germany, with the prerequisite of a yearly renewal of the approval.”

    Q: When making buying decisions, what are good questions to ask to figure out which products/treatments with nanotechnology are safe or beneficial, and which are not?

    A: It is up to the consumer to do some homework here. Nanosphere technology in cosmetics is not yet regulated in the United States by the FDA, therefore there is no way to determine whether nanospheres in cosmetics deliver toxic substances into the body and bloodstream. There is some good data backing the nano particles in sunscreens, so at the moment these are deemed safe. More research into the safety of these materials will be made by government agencies like the FDA and should hopefully provide more clarification for consumers.

    As seen in American Spa Magazine

  • Treatments and Techniques for Aging Skin

    Bettina ZammertHardly any other issue in skin care is as important as aging. This is little wonder, because the “baby boomer” generation is not willing to simply accept skin aging. Expert knowledge is essential for anyone wishing to advise these discerning customers.

    In the past, it was always assumed that lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, and hyperpigmentation were part of the normal aging process and could not be influenced, or if so, then only slightly. However, new research has shown that over 90% of the changes that we see in our skin are due to exposure to daylight (photoaging), which is something we can protect ourselves against. No more than 10% is due to genetic factors.

    So it is quite clear that the best product to use against skin aging is good daylight protection, every day. It should be included in all home care regimens, and active ingredients such as antioxidants and peptides are “super weapons” in the fight against skin aging.

    Intensive exfoliation is particularly important in professional treatments for aging skin, since it increases the cell renewal rate and improves the absorption of the active ingredients. Many customers experience an increase in hyperpigmentation as they age. Treating this discoloration requires active ingredients that reduce melanin synthesis in the skin to a normal level. Systematic, consistent home is required, in combination with a professional treatment series, to bring about the desired success.

    When treating aging/changing skin, it is extremely important to remain reasonable with regard to expectations. Under no circumstances should you promise your customers any miracles, because you will quickly look unprofessional. Instead, work with your customer to draw up a precise treatment plan and the matching home treatment routine. This will show your customers that you are competent, and the expected treatment success will be achieved even more quickly!

  • Sunscreen and Expiration Dates Explained

    Taking sunbath

    One of the most critical products that I would advocate a client use before any other type of skin care product would be a sunscreen. We know that Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is responsible for a number of skin concerns ranging from various forms of hyperpigmentation to more serious precancerous and cancerous lesions. We also know that approximately 80-99% of extrinsic aging comes from exposure to UVR! For this reason, The International Dermal Institute recommends using sunscreen every day, not just during the summer months.

    The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least 2-3 years, and in order to make these claims the sunscreen formula has to undergo a series of real time or accelerated stability tests to prove that the ingredient is still active up until the time of expiration. It’s important to point out at this point that if you’re using sunscreen every day and in the correct amount, a tube should not last that long. Most clients don’t realize that their sunscreen has a limited time in which it can be used effectively, so it may be a good idea to point out the expiration date to the client when they purchase their next sunscreen product from you. Most expiration dates can be found stamped on the crimp of the product packaging tube or printed on the bottom of the product carton.

    If sunscreens have expired there is a good chance they are still good for a few months; however once you reach the expiration date there is no guarantee that the level of activity is still present. You may also want to point out a few of these basic but important tips to your clients next time they inquire about purchasing their sunscreen from you:

    • The best place to store your SPF product is in a cool place out of direct sunlight and heat.

    • Buy smaller sizes of your SPF product vs. larger “30% extra for free” products, which will inevitably expire before you get a chance to use them all and you’ll end up having to throw them out.

    • Don’t use any SPF formulation that contains fragrance or perfume as this may cause hyperpigmentation and, in some cases, a photosensitized reaction on the skin.

    • If your client has a more sensitive skin, she or he would be better off using a physical SPF (containing Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide), as these formulations tend to have a larger molecular size that does not penetrate and potentially cause irritation.

    • Try to look for a formulation that can potentially deliver additional skin health benefits, such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C to the skin, as these types of sunscreens help to minimize the amount of free radical damage to the skin, thereby offering a more advanced level of protection.

    • Many clients are hesitant to use sunscreen because they feel the formulations are too thick, heavy or pore clogging. Professional products, however, use new technology that delivers more sophisticated SPFs, which have the ability to benefit different skin types and conditions. This allows you to prescribe a sunscreen that’s perfectly customized to your clients’ needs.

  • Update: New FDA Rules Regarding Sunscreen

    Twenty years ago, the concept of sun protection was to prevent sunburn from UVB rays. There was no international SPF test, sun products had virtually no protection against UVA -there were only two sunscreens classed as UVA filters- and there was no concept of photo stability applied to sun care products. The goal was to get a golden tan and enhance it as much as possible (ahem baby oil users!) instead of protecting from future damage.

    Today is a vastly different environment when it comes to sun protection. We know a lot more today about UVA rays than we ever did, and sun protection products are much more sophisticated. Regulations have finally caught up with the science, backing sunscreens as effective methods to prevent early skin aging. Last year’s FDA statement covered some ground on testing and labeling of sunscreens- and this goes into effect June 2012.

    I’ve summarized the key points below:

    • If the product passes FDA’s tests for both UVB and UVA, it can be labeled as ‘broad spectrum’. Previously, only UVB protection was tested, which is where the SPF value comes from. Look for ‘broad spectrum’ on the label for maximum protection.

    • If a ‘broad-spectrum’ product has a minimum of SPF15 and is used regularly along with other sun-protection measures (clothing, shade), then these products can state on the label that they not only help prevent sunburn, but also reduce the risk of cancer and reduce signs of early skin aging.

    • No more ‘sunblock,’ ‘sweatproof’ or ‘waterproof’ claims. Instead FDA will allow “water resistant (40minutes)” or “extra water resistant (80minutes)” as relevant.

    • Remember to apply at least every two hours, especially if swimming or sweating.

    • From now on, all sunscreen products must include standard ‘drug facts’ information, on the back and/or side of the container. Look for this panel on the package for detailed information.

    Of course change doesn’t occur suddenly so these are things to look forward this year, with additional changes in the future. Some issues that FDA will look at in the coming years include investigating whether some delivery methods are valid ways of delivering UV protection. These forms are eligible for inclusion in the future OTC sunscreen monograph: oils, lotions, creams, gels, butters, pastes, ointments, sticks and sprays. We should point out that sprays may be delisted pending FDA requested safety and efficacy testing. While spray sunscreens are easy to use, most people don’t use enough (you need at least a shot glass of the cream kind so imagine how much you really need to spray!). For now, the FDA will require an extra safety warning for sprays to ensure proper application. Other popular forms of sunscreen delivery, such as powders and wipes, are currently considered ineligible for inclusion in the sunscreen monograph. Since there is no hard evidence showing that really high SPF numbers are significantly better, FDA is proposing to cap SPF values at 50 – that means no more SPF 100! This is all still a work in progress, but it shows that government agencies are putting work into regulating the fast-paced world of over-the-counter drugs in cosmetics.

    So what’s the difference between a drug-store sunscreen and a professional skin care product with sunscreen? It all lies in the formulation. Both will legally have the same sun protection, since they must adhere to US FDA (or other regulatory body’s) rules. But the world of skin care is also based on research and sometimes makes changes faster than governmental rules ie: broad spectrum protection has been around for many years before it became a labeling possibility. We know that protecting against UVA and UVB rays is only part of the problem when it comes to photoaging. Free radical formation is also a major culprit- professional skin care products with sunscreens are more likely to have higher levels of antioxidants along with broad-spectrum UV protection for maximum skin health benefits. Formulators of professional products can also enhance products to provide more benefits around specific skin conditions. They will also take into account the feel and texture of the product, so you are sure to get sheer, non-greasy formulas that deliver the same amount of sun protection as any basic sunscreen but formulated with ingredients that maximize skin health and prevent future damage.

    The main point of this is to remember that sunscreen is not fool-proof. Be sun aware, especially when outside for long periods of time, either in summer or hitting the slopes in winter. And remember, in order to get the actual SPF designated on the package you must apply a full teaspoon of product to your face or a shot glass to your body… So enjoy the summer – but be sun aware!

  • Give Sunscreen a Boost with Plant Oleosomes!

    The plant kingdom once again provides cosmetic chemists with a new technology that plays an important role in sunscreen formulations. Known as oleosomes, these oil capsules are found naturally in various plants and seeds, providing a reservoir for plant oils that provide an energy source for the plant. Cosmetic scientists have learned that these spherical structures can be loaded with active substances such as sunscreens, providing both a means of delivery, as well as, a stabilized environment for actives that may break down under normal conditions. Oleosomes represent the next generation in encapsulation.

    They also act as natural emulsifying agents, allowing us to reduce the amount of emulsifier used in a formula. Why is this important? Because we now know that emulsifying agents can interfere with chemical sunscreen activity, especially when higher SPFs are used. When oleosomes loaded with active sunscreens are added to a formula, less of the regular emulsifying agents are required. The end result is that we get a boost to SPF activity with a lower concentration of sunscreen actives and emulsifiers. This is a real bonus, especially for individuals that may find higher concentrations of chemical sunscreens potentially irritating. When applied to the skin, oleosomes collapse in a timed-release fashion, delivering the sunscreen protection over a period of time. Not since the development of UV Smart Booster technology, which delivered antioxidant capsules to provide enhanced sunscreen protection, has there been such exciting new technology that promises to change the development of sunscreen products.