Enhancing UV protection systems


Jacques Sebag of Re-Source! discusses some key initiatives in improving the depth and breadth of UV protection systems on show at in-cosmetics this year

It is widely recognised that registering a new UV filter is almost as long and complex a process as registering a new drug. But in 2009/10 new product launches in the solar segment increased by 31% year on year (GNPD Mintel, 2011). So let’s take a look at where some of the leading suppliers of UV filters are now focusing their attention when it comes to innovation.

To offer broad spectrum protection while making the work of formulators easier, Croda launched Solaveil SpeXtra in 2010. Containing a novel titanium dioxide, the Solaveil SpeXtra dispersions were specifically designed to deliver an optimal balance of UVA and UVB attenuation to meet the European UVA guidelines as a single active ingredient. This year at in-cosmetics, Croda will launch a simple solution for its customers in the US to meet the new FDA rules for broad spectrum claims.

Rather than developing a new UV filter, many laboratories are exploring better ways to use them and assess their performance. This is something DSM achieved when it first launched Parsol SLX. The product surprised many as it revealed a much better performance in vivo than in vitro, which could only be explained by a better distribution of the sunscreen on human skin.

DSM has recently published studies showing how synergies between UV filters formulated in the right medium can maximise protection and skin feel at the same time. Combining Parsol HS, a water soluble UVB filter, with Parsol SLX allowed DSM to reach a ratio of 2.7 (the average is 1.3) with an excellent skin feel, evaluated by an independent sensory expert panel on close to 20 skin feel criteria.

BASF has also done a lot of work in how filters behave. At the Sun Protection Conference in London last year, the company presented its study showing that both organic and inorganic particulate UV filters act mainly via absorption with scattering and reflection being only minor effects in terms of protection. Moreover, the study showed that the efficiency of particulate UV filters increases with decreasing particle size.

Which of course brings us on to the nano issue. Croda firmly believes in the value of ultra fine inorganic sunscreens and that nanoparticle sunscreens are safe and effective.

“We are focused on supporting our customers during this time of uncertainty, providing them with the vital information they need about the properties of our products, whether that be the particle size, safety profiles or ingredients,” says R&D manager Ian Tooley.

Looking beyond protection

Filters are really the first line of defence in protecting the skin against the damages induced by UV rays. However, in order to provide a more complete protection against UV induced damages, it is essential to supplement sun care products with active ingredients capable of assisting the defence systems of the skin, and actually evaluate these actives in direct relation to UV exposure. The 2011 launch of SymHelios 1031 by Symrise, was a step in this direction. The active targets the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, a protein that binds with UV induced toxins and is thought to cause collagen and elastin destruction, oxidative stress and activation of growth factors.

Companies such as Symrise are capable of offering comprehensive insights into the design of solar beauty products. This means that they can not only assist their customers in the selection of the most appropriate UV filters, but they are also able to assist them in creating multisensory experiences which take into account the cultural dimensions of the markets as well as the positioning of their customers.

The sensory parameter in UV protection is becoming critical to the point that medium to high UV protection is now being incorporated into products beyond the sun care industry. The fashion for all-inclusive products such as BB creams is a perfect illustration of a new generation of formulas which provide the benefits of skin care, UV protection and make-up in a single application.

Innovating in solar beauty is like innovating in any other personal care segment but with all the cursors set to extreme. And what we are witnessing here is that looking ahead to the next new ingredient will no longer do the job. The future of innovation now lies in the ability to stimulate cross-fertilisation and establish closer partnerships with suppliers.

To meet the experts face to face and benefit from their expertise, follow the Solar Trail at in-cosmetics. This new feature, which is part of the in-focus programme, will guide you throughout the exhibition to easily locate the world’s most innovative suppliers in solar beauty.

in-focus will take place at in-cosmetics 17-19 April 2012 at Barcelona’s Gran Via Exhibition Centre.

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