Youth In A Tube - The Lowdown on Sunscreen
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This film is full of information about the latest rules, regulations and the ingredients to know when it comes to sunscreen. I've spoken to dermatologists and scientists in the UK and USA and have included products recommended by them, as well as some personal favourites that I use on myself and my celebrity clients.
Keeping your skin protected in the sun is one of the easiest ways you can keep it looking younger for longer, and with so many great textures and formulas available now for every skin type, there really is no excuse not to wear SPF everyday ;) I hope the film is helpful for everyone who asked for it X
Thank you to Dr Nick Lowe, Jeff Murad, Kathy Phillips, Janne-Marii Nurm, and Nathan Rivas for their insights.
Update - July 2016
I recently went back to the experts I spoke to in this film to see if there had been any changes in terms of the disparity between America and the rest of the world when it comes to sunscreen. Jeff Murad, Vice President Product Development at Murad Skincare, told me that, 'While the FDA has been talking a lot lately about fast-tracking the approval of some sunscreen actives, we have not seen any activity yet.'
Nathan Rivas, Senior Researcher at Paula's Choice also said that, unfortunately, 'because the Sunscreen Innovation Act didn’t allow for changes to the FDA testing requirements (nor provide funding for additional resources in managing this process), the result is that no new sunscreen ingredients are expected to meet FDA approval anytime in the next few years. L’Oréal came the closest with Mexoryl SX at the end of last summer, but still failed to meet the FDA's requirements.' However, he did point out that many skincare companies are focusing their efforts on improving and innovating the ways in which they are able to use the FDA's current, approved sunscreen actives - with 'improved aesthetics and reduced skin sensitivity' among the intended results of these advancements... watch this space. X
Chemical sunscreens protect your skin by absorbing UV rays (some chemical filters can scatter rays, but they'll mostly absorb them).
There are lots of chemical sunscreen filters, including triazines and triazones, meroxyl, avobenzone and oxybenzone. These filters are mostly stable (i.e., they won't break or degrade down in sunlight, reducing effectiveness) but some are not - however, they can be stabilised when formulated in conjunction with other UV filters.
Mineral (also called Physical) sunscreens protect your skin by blocking and reflecting UV rays.
The two main mineral sunscreen filters are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, both of which are stable.
Hybrid sunscreens contain a mixture of chemical and mineral filters, which work synergistically to protect from UV rays.
There are currently 28 active sunscreen ingredients approved for use in the EU (you can find a list of them here: two of which are triazines and two of which are triazones. When looking at the ingredients list on your sunscreen bottle, for the most part the long names bolded below (which finish in triazine or triazone) will be listed, so look out for these.
However, they do have other ‘trade’ names (think a pharmacy’s own brand paracetamol vs Panadol - it’s just a different grade or form of the same ingredient, but in the end the same molecule) which I’ve listed below. Like I said, you won’t tend to find these secondary or trade names on the back of your sunscreen, but just to keep you aware.
1 - Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine (broad spectrum)
Tinosorb S (N.B. Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, or Tinosorb M, is not a triazine, but it does have similar aspects - it’s also broad spectrum)
2 - Tris-Biphenyl Triazine (broad spectrum)
N.B. this active can’t be used in sprays, so it’s not as common as Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine - as most companies would rather buy a lot of one ingredient that can be used across all of their sunscreen formulas, rather than using one for sprays and one for creams.
3 - Ethylhexyl triazone (UVB protecting)
Uvinul T 150
4 - Diethylhexyl butamido triazone (UVB and UVA1 protecting)
N.B. this active is approved in Europe, but not Australia and Asia, whereas Ethylhexyl triazone is. So again, this makes Ethylhexyl triazone more common, especially for companies whose sunscreen products are sold outside of the EU.