Ready for a good and conscious suntan? Let’s know better sunscreens…

solariA wonderful sunny day could really change our mood, it allows us to better face daily routine and enjoy the outdoor benefits. A sunny day brings us back to positive thinking, energy, beauty and health. However, we should not forget all the implications of sun-exposure, in order to benefit from sunlight avoiding the related risks, caused by solar over-exposure. Let’s better understand what sun exposure really implicates, knowing that uneven solar exposure can cause not only tiny sunburns, but also it could increase incidence of certain forms of skin cancer.

Sunlight is composed by different bands characterized by their wavelenght (λ) and energy: a portion of such radiation is represented by ultraviolet (UV) rays

  • UVC rays (λ = 40 ÷ 286 nm) are filtered off by atmosphere ozone and they don’t reach Earth surface in considerable amount.
  • UVB rays (λ = 286 ÷ 320 nm) stimulate melanin formation even though they penetrate only partially through skin, and are the main responsible for suntanning. They act superficially on epidermis and can damage skin cells, determining inflammation and sunburns, due to their high energy.
  • UVA rays (λ = 320 ÷ 400 nm) represent the majority of UV radiation,  they deeply penetrate through skin and cause damage to underlying tissues, they provoke skin ageing  and contribute to pathologic phenomena. They also give rapid suntan using the already-formed melanin.

Cosmetic sunscreens play a major role in skin safety, they represent a strong defence for our skin and contribute to effectively protect it from sunlight. Since September 2006 European Commission has set directives for a perfect solar protection formulation: it must screen efficaciously from both UVA and UVB rays. EU directives compel cosmetic manufactures to display clear labels in terms of efficacy and claims of sun-care products. BeC, as a cosmetic manufacturer, has been working seriously to assure the best performance of sun-care products, with the added value of the  essential oils, the emollient, soothing and antioxidant actives that play a key role for comprehensive sun protection. They sooth erythema, while blocking skin photo-aging, beside cutting off UV rays.

Let’s better know which sunscreen are allowed in EU in cosmetics, according the Regulation (EC)   No   1223/2009   of    the   European   Parliament and of the Council of Europe:

  1. para-aminobenzoic (PABA) acid derivatives screen UVB rays with absorbance maximum peaks between 285 and 310 nm.
  2. Cinnamates (e. ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) are able to protect from UVB rays behaving also as quencher of excited species produced by solar radiation. They absorb radiation at maximum wavelength around 310 nm.
  3. Benzylidencamphor derivatives screen UVB rays and are quencher as well.
  4. Dibenzoylmethane derivatives protect from UVA rays.
  5. Benzophenones absorb both UVA and UVB rays.
  6. Salicilates boast a moderate absorbing efficacy in UVB region, with absorbance maximum at around 305 nm.
  7. Triazines, i.e. Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, are excellent photo-stable sunscreen covering the wide range of UVA and UVB.
  8. Diphenylcyanoacrilates, i.e. Octocrylene represent a good wide range UVA-UVB sunscreen.
  9. Titanium bioxide and Zinc oxide represent physical sunscreen characterized by full UV-range coverage and reflecting action with sunlight scattering properties.

BeC sun-care products are based on a careful combination of the best photo-stable suncreens (physical and chemical) in order to assure complete coverage of the UV spectrum.

The special formulation and the efficacy testing on human volunteers assure a totally safe and perfect suntan. To this aim, the sunscreen of Creme solari (SPF 6, 15 , 30 e 50+) covers the full protection range so to perfectly match your specific photo-type. Special attention is devoted to deliver super-fine and even dispersion of the UV-filter in the formula, so to assure a uniform protection and suntan. Ingredients’ quality, mostly from natural origin (100% natural in case of SPF6) makes these products fully skin-compatible, suitable also for the most delicate skin-types.

As we anticipated, BeC sun care products are not only made of sunscreens! Along with natural components which stimulate melanogenesis (ATP, tyrosine and riboflavine – vit. B2), making suntan more rapid and intense, i.e. aiding skin self-protect, BeC sun care products are rich of hydrating and soothing actives, which nourish our skin and contribute to re-equilibrate physiologic skin moisture and elasticity. Daily use of BeC suncare products avoid damages caused by sun over-exposure but also effectively increase hydration and elasticity!
Natural Vitamin E contained in every BeC sun care product helps prevent wrinkle formation and premature skin ageing along with defending skin from the action of free radicals involved in radiation mediated inflammatory processes. BeC sun care line acts by preventing sun damages: this is especially the case for the oil Huile SolÈ® that is particularly rich in vitamin E. Efficacy tests have shown that daily use reduces already formed wrinkles by 12% in only one week of treatment! This is an outstanding result!!!

BeC sun care products are designed to let us enjoy full benefits from sunlight, while reducing risks and side effects such as allergies, photo-sensitization and skin ageing. In order to protect skin from harmful radiation, our careful sun care formulation stimulates natural skin defence and guarantees a perfect and uniform suntan leaving hydrated, elastic and silky skin. The soothing action on irritation and the prevention of risks associated to free radicals – that causes premature ageing – complete the special properties of our sun care line.

Let’s benefit from a good suntan without turning down an excellent solar protection!

UV filters in sunscreens: things we should know on their nature and functioning

Sunscreens or UV filters are natural or synthetic compounds that are included in cosmetic formulations to protect the skin from damages caused by solar exposure. In the case of specific sunscreen formulas (to be used for sunbathing), they are responsible for the Solar Protection Factor, SPF, whose value indicates the degree of protection the formula will guarantee to our skin, thereby avoiding erythema and other damages like photo-aging. What do UV filters exactly do and how do they act? The principle is very simple: UV filters reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface on which they are applied, for instance skin surface. The difference among the many UV filters lies in the mechanism by which they achieve this goal and they can be grouped in two categories.

Physical and chemical filter - effecto on skin

Mechanism of action of physical and chemical filters on the skin

Physical filters reflect (back) a portion of solar radiation, letting only a limited fraction of light cross them and reach the skin. Therefore, they do not interact with solar radiation and they are not altered by it at all. Chemical filters, instead, absorb a portion of solar radiation, and use it to achieve a higher quantum energy state. Immediately after, such excess energy is released to the environment in the form of heat, thereby making the filter ready to absorb solar energy again. The different mechanisms of action are summarized in the picture on the left. In both cases, the amount of solar energy allowed to pass – which is not reflected nor absorbed – depends on the amount of filters applied on the skin, which determines the solar protection factor.
Both types of filters offer advantages and disadvantages: physical filters have the advantage of being completely stable and not being damaged by solar radiation. Furthermore, compounds like Zinc oxide are totally inert and are very safe for skin. Their disadvantage lies in the difficulty to reach high SPF values without causing the so-called “white effect”. In order to reduce this effect, it is possible to use them in micronized form, which is much more precious (BeC uses this form in all sunscreen formulas). However, even micronized forms do not allow reaching high protection without becoming “visible” on the skin. Therefore, in high protection formulas they are usually combined with chemical filters. Chemicals filters, infact, have the advantage of being very effective and of offering excellent performance while being completely invisible. They disperse very well in the formulation affording a more homogenous protection (corresponding to a more even tan!); however, since they absorb the solar energy, they are subjected to the risk of photo-degradation, or they could undergo photochemical reactions.
At this point, let’s better clarify a very important aspect. Often, the expression “chemical filter” is confused with “synthetic filter”, i.e. artificial, while it is generally believed that physical filters are natural. This is not necessarily true! Physical filters are normally inorganic, i.e. minerals, and normally they are natural, but they can as well be synthetic, i.e. artificially produced.

Oryzanol

gamma-oryzanol: a natural “chemical” filter extracted from rice

On the other hand, the most common chemical filters are often synthetic, i.e. man made; however, there exist also examples of natural chemical filters. Among the most impportant ones, there is certainly gamma-oryzanol, which is extracted from rice bran (see picture on the left), and other examples are cinnamic acid, typical of cinnamon but found also in Brassica vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, etc) and in shea butter, carotenoids(e.g. from carrots, tomatoes and several red-orange fruits), Vitamin E and many more. These compounds have also the advantage of possessing additional properties (e.g. antioxidant, soothing, calming, anti-age); unfortunately, however, they are nor as effective as synthetic chemical filters. BeC uses natural chemical filters when high SPF values are not requested (e.g. in Huile SolE’), and combines natural and synthetic chemical filters when high protection is aimed at.

The take home message is: don’t be fooled by the words! The adjectives Chemical or Physical, for filters, indicate their mechanism of action not their origin. The origin can either be natural or synthetic, but the most important aspect is their stability toward solar radiation, which is fundamental for our safety under sunlight.