Tag Archives: Sun Protection

FDA and Sunscreen Report – International Dermal Institute

Update: New FDA Rules Regarding Sunscreen

Article from the International Dermal Institute

“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!”

Going to the Beach? Tips to Save Your Skin

It’s a fact: The Ocean is one big sun reflector. You’re more at risk for sunburns and sun damage on the shore than anywhere else.

Here are my expert tips to keep your skin safe this summer:

  • Discontinue use of AHA’s:Using exfoliants regularly (such as Glycolic Acid) have been shown to increase sun sensitivity by 45 percent. It’s best to discontinue use of AHA’s seven days prior to the beach.
  • Sunscreen: It’s not the SPF number that is as important, it is how often and generously you apply.  When it comes to SPF, I prefer SPF 30 reapplied as often as every hour.

My pick: Tu’el Oil Free Protection SPF 30. It’s an oil-free, lightweight full spectrum sun block for oily or impure skin or for those in hot and/or humid climates.

It contains a key moisturizing ingredient, Sodium Hyaluronate as well as nourishing Cucumber Extract, Calendula Extract, Chamomile Extract, Green Tea
  • Be aware of oily skinned areas: The areas of your face where you have larger pores will always produce more oils.  These natural oils can breakdown sunscreens more quickly, so pay attention and reapply more often.  For example, the nose area acts as a natural reflectant.  Pay attention to your nose, or any area, that is getting shiny…
  • Apply sunscreen in forgotten areas: hairline, ears, tops of feet, toes, eyelids.
  • Don’t think you are safe in the shade: You still get sun under an umbrella, especially by the ocean. Because the water reflects light you still need to apply and re-apply sunscreen.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses: If the goal is to help protect your skin from premature aging, a hat and sunglasses can be the extra coverage you need for your face.
  • Got acne? Go for a swim: The salt in the ocean water helps destroy bacteria, which can clear up your breakouts.
  • Rinse off the saltwater: The same water that is destroying bacteria is also very dehydrated (great for blemishes, not for dry skin). Make sure to rinse off before leaving beach.
  • Wear mineral makeup: For extra protection, Youngblood mineral powders has an SPF protecting factor and will give you a finished look without being too heavy for the beach.

What if you applied sunscreen but still got sunburn? The most common problems are:

  • Too little sunscreen applied
  • Not applied every hour for intense exposure
  • Not the right formulation

Sunscreens wear off, sweat off and wash off.  Applying 20 minutes before exposure, liberally and often makes all the difference.  If you want to look young, avoid the sun. A little sun means a little damage; a lot of sun means a lot of damage.

Click here if you want to learn more about sun protection.

Summer means fun at the beach – relax and enjoy but be safe with your skin!

See you at the spa!

Oil Free Essential Protection SPF 30

oil free spfDaily Protect Oil Free Essential Protection SPF 30

An oil-free, lightweight full spectrum sun block especially for oily or impure skin or for those in hot and/or humid climates.

SPF 30 can be worn all day, but is especially important when outside for prolonged periods, or near water.

Some of the ingredients include:

Chamomile Extract: Soothing, calming and  assists in healing.

Green Tea Extract: Powerful antioxidant, free radical scavenger and anti irritant.

Aloe Extract: Soothes and protects.

Sodium Hyaluronate: It is the cosmetic grade of Hyaluronic Acid. Extremely humectant, binds up to 1000 times it’s weight in water, supports collagen and elastin in the dermis where wrinkles form.

People are often confused about sunscreen formulations. Here is what is in this one:
  • Octyl Methoxycinnamate – UVB protection, waterproof, reduces the appearance of scars and is an organic compound.
  • Benzophenone 3 – It is an organic compound, broad spectrum protection photosynthesizing short wave UVA  and absorbs rays in the upper UVB, lower UVB range, where primary sundamage – i.e. burning, skin cancer and aging occur.
  • Octyl Salicylate – Adds emollient properties, is an organic compound and absorbs UVB.
  • Titanium Dioxide – Utra Violet physical block found naturally.
  • Avobenzone – Active, “broad spectrum” (this is an important key phrase, watch for it on labels) protection. It’s an organic sunscreen agent that has the ability to absorb ultraviolet light over a wide range of wavelengths.

*Price quoted for this product is valid up to one month after this post is published.
See you at the spa!

Sun and Sunscreen 101

Everyone’s always talking about UV rays and how bad they are and how you need a certain type of SPF to block out those rays. But what do all those acronyms mean? What are UV rays? Are they bad? And if UV rays are bad, how do you combat them? Well, let me tell ya!

Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation is present in sunlight. It is considered an environmental human carcinogen. The effects of UV rays on normal skin include: skin cancer, sunburn inflammation and hyper pigmentation (also known as sunspots). In addition, UV rays can also have a negative impact on the immune system.

UV falls into 3 categories:

1.) UVA– can penetrate glass, it oxidizes melanin (the brown stuff), that’s already present and triggers the release of more melanin in the skin. It has less energy than other UV rays, but penetrates deeply. Fortunately, it does not cause redness. However, UVA can generate chemical changes which can damage DNA. Because it does not cause reddening of the skin it cannot be measured in SPF testing.

2.) UVB– stimulates the body to produce more melanin and produce a “burn”. They are the most potent rays that reach the earth, and can produce skin cancer.

3.) UVC- These are the highest energy UV rays.  They have the shortest wave length and could be the most harmful to your skin and eyes. They should be completely absorbed by the ozone layer, however the earth’s protective shield is increasingly compromised.

So, what is a tan anyway? My kids used to taunt me by saying, “Mom, I’m going out to get some sun damage!”

A tan is the skin’s defense against UV radiation, the brown pigment (melanin) in the skin increases when exposed to moderate levels of radiation. In healthy skin with moderate exposure, Melanin absorbs UV radiation and dissipates the energy as harmless heat, blocking the damaging of skin tissue.

It is important that sunscreen block both UVA,UVB and UVC. A skincare professional can recommend a product; or you can take a few notes about ingredients to look for in a full spectrum block like: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide  (life guards wear it – it’s clear now) and avobenzone.

Here is one of my favorite sunscreens, especially for sensitive skin that react to the chemicals in sunscreens: Tu’el Oil Free Essential Protection SPF 30.

Most products contain an SPF rating to show how well they block UVB rays only. However they typically offer no data about UVA protection. In other words, that 80 SPF sunscreen you have sitting in your bathroom may or may not be working.  Since UVA rays don’t cause redness, there’s no way to tell if they’re damaging your skin.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering adding a star rating system to show UVA protection. (Note to the FDA: Hurry up already, it’s been promised for years!)

Everyday sunscreens should be at least SPF 15. If you’re going to be in the sun for prolonged periods, make sure it’s SPF 30, and remember to get one that is formulated to block the full spectrum of rays.

I recommend applying sunscreen to the entire body right after showering, and to the face after washing it. That way the product has time to soak in and take effect before going outside. It’s a good idea to slather on a second application when you hit the beach, or will be having prolonged exposure.

A white cotton shirt has a SPF of about 8, but if the shirt is tight and the weave stretched, it’s much less. If the shirt gets wet, fades or is several years old, its ability to protect against the sun is even more reduced. Did you know that dark colors absorb more UV rays (that’s a good thing), than light colors. That is why you are hotter in a black shirt than a white one.

Adding a hat and UV protective sunglasses to your sunscreen will help protect your face completely.

If all that wasn’t enough to convince you to slather on the sunscreen, here’s a few more fun (sun) facts:

  • One per cent of wrinkles are caused by ageing; 99 per cent are caused by the sun.
  • It only takes one severe burn during childhood to double the risk of skin cancer in adult life.
  • Using SPF 15 during the first 18 years of life lowers skin cancer odds by 80 percent.
  • An easy way to remember the difference between UVA + UVB rays: UVA = ageing, UVB= burning.

So remember – practice safe sun!

See you at the spa!