Year after year, skin cancer continues to be the most common form of cancer in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more than 3.5 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed in this country each year. Even though melanoma accounts for less than two percent of skin cancer cases, it causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths, and the ACS estimates that about 73,870 new melanomas will be diagnosed this year. In addition to skin cancer, exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can contribute to skin damage and premature aging. Therefore, as skincare professionals, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest suncare news, trends, and products to properly educate clients on protecting their skin from the sun.
It’s the Law
Signed by President Barack Obama on November 26, 2014, the Sunscreen Innovation Act is a new law that requires the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish an expedited process for the review and approval of over-the-counter sunscreens. According to the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) website, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not approved a new active ingredient in sunscreen since 1999. The new law gives the FDA 300 days (approximately 10 months) to decide on new and future UV filter applications and a shorter time frame for requests that were pending approval before enactment of the Act. The bill also requires the FDA to develop testing and labeling requirements for sunscreens sold as aerosols and determine if sunscreen can contain a label indicating a sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 50.
With the approval of these ingredients, U.S. manufacturers will have more options when formulating sunscreens. “This is long overdue,” says Anne Chapas, M.D., director of Union Square Laser Dermatology (New York City), instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center (New York City), and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). “The majority of applications are for ingredients that have been used safely in sunscreens available outside the U.S. for many years. If approved, Americans will finally have easy access to the newest sun protection technologies, and we will see a new range of sunscreens with better UVA and UVB protection profiles. With regular use, we could see a healthier population with less incidence of skin cancer.”
Because of the high incidence of skin cancer, scientists and researchers constantly attempt to determine possible causes as well as forms of protection, which has led to some interesting findings from recent studies.
Research by scientists at Yale University and published in the journal Science found that skin damage from UV exposure can continue hours after being in the sunlight, even in the dark. According to the research, UV light emitted from the sun or tanning beds can damage the DNA in melanocytes, which are the cells that make melanin, giving skin its color, and can lead to skin cancer. The scientists suggest that sunscreens could benefit from having skin-quenching ingredients to dissipate the excess energy formed as a result of the process, known as chemiexcitation, and also suggest that “evening-after” sunscreens, which contain vitamin E and are applied at night, could add protection.
Another study reveals that caffeinated coffee might lower the risk of developing melanoma. According to a study published in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, drinking four or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day could reduce the risk of melanoma by 20 percent. Also, both epidemiological and pre-clinical studies have suggested that coffee consumption has a protective effect against nonmelanoma skin cancers (the protective effect for malignant melanoma is less clear). Overall, the study found that people who drank the most coffee every day had a lower risk of melanoma, compared with those who drank little-to-no coffee. There was also a trend toward more protection with higher intake. It’s important to note that more research regarding coffee intake is needed, and no matter the results, sunscreen remains the most important source of protection from UV rays.
Spa-goers are sure to feel satisfied with the findings from research published in the January 2015 issue of Experimental Dermatology. According to the findings, the antioxidant active licochalcone A, which is the main component of the root extract of the plant glycyrrhiza inflata (Chinese licorice) can aid in protecting the skin from UV damage by strengthening the skin’s own defense systems and providing a protective shield from
sun exposure. These findings show that the skin´s own defense system can be stimulated by the application of licorice extract, and when combined with UV filters, it can provide superior sun protection.
New findings suggest that exposure to the sun during adulthood might cause more nonmelanoma skin cancer than exposure during childhood. According to a study, which was presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the AAD, women who lived in the southern latitudes of the U.S. as adults but not as children were 39 percent more likely to get nonmelanoma skin cancer than women who lived in northern latitudes. While the risk for nonmelanoma skin cancer was significantly higher in women with high sun exposure during childhood and adulthood than in the reference group, the fact that the risk was even higher for women with low exposure during childhood and high exposure during adulthood than in the reference group was an interesting discovery.
In addition to educating clients on the latest research and studies regarding sun protection, you should also recommend various mobile apps to help your clients practice safe sun exposure. Here are a few that can help keep them protected.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise UV Index: This free app for IOS and Android users provides a color-coded daily and hourly forecast of the expected intensity of UV radiation from the sun based on the user’s location.
Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App: Available for $.99, this IOS-compatible app automatically calculates how long the user’s skin can be exposed to the sun without burning based on skin type, location, date and time, and level of SPF being used. It also features information on the sun’s position, a weather forecast, sunrise and sunset times, and basic suggestions on how to avoid getting a sunburn.
Nevus: This app, available for Android and IOS for $2.99, helps users spot bumps and areas of concern. It also alerts users with an alarm when it is time to reapply sunscreen and explains how much sunscreen to apply to each area. What’s more, the Skin Record feature allows users to take photographs and gather information on skin spots and lesions of concern, which could be helpful in showing a dermatologist how the area has changed.
Solaveil Suncare: This free IOS-compatible app asks the user for details such as skin, hair, and eye color and combines this information with the user’s GPS location to provide local temperatures and UV estimates to accurately alert the user when it is necessary to reapply sunscreen.
Today’s suncare options go beyond the thick creams available in the past. Now, sunscreen is available in various forms, including lotions, gels, powders, and sprays. Sun protection is also often found in cosmetics like foundation, face powder, and lip products, as well as in unexpected sources like the ones discussed below.
Osmosis Pür Medical Skincare Harmonized Water UV Neutralizer: Described as the first drinkable sunscreen, the frequency-enhanced purified water is available in two formulas: Tan Enhancing and No Tan Enhancing. Tan Enhancing boosts the body’s defense against aging UV rays and sun damage. Comparable to SPF 30 broad spectrum protection, this formulation boosts the sun’s tanning effects. No Tan Enhancing formula is also comparable to an SPF 30 sunscreen, but this formula neutralizes UVA and UVB rays. Both formulas are chemical-free and non-toxic and feature vibrational waves, which isolate the precise frequencies needed to provide protection from UV rays. The frequencies that have been imprinted on the water vibrate on the skin and cancel approximately 97 percent of the UVA and UVB rays.
Murad Pomphenol Sunguard Dietary Supplement: This skincare vitamin contains pomegranate extract, which provides antioxidant protection, helps fight signs of premature aging, and intensifies skin’s natural sun protection.
A Show of Hands
It’s common for body lotions and creams to contain SPF, but a recent trend is the addition of sunscreen in hand products, such as Carita Velvet Glove Nourishing Hand Cream SPF 10, Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream SPF 25, and Jane Iredale—The Skin Care Makeup HandDrink Hand Cream SPF 15. “SPF is important everywhere,” says Hannah Hatcher, global educator for Jane Iredale. “Your hands, however, are the first to show your age. Hands are exposed to the elements at all times and are constantly being washed with harsh alkaline-based soaps and even more drying hand sanitizers. This can speed up the aging process if they are not protected.”
According to Hatcher, the ultra-hydrating, non-greasy hand cream, which is recommended by The Skin Care Foundation as an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen, combines sun protection with added botanicals like blackberry, green tea, and rose oil to keep hands healthy and hydrated and was developed to help protect hands from the sun, as well as the UV light used to cure a gel manicure. The hand cream is not greasy, which sets it apart from traditional sunscreens. “Can you imagine applying a traditional sunscreen to your hands and trying to hold onto your smartphone without having it slip from your grip?” says Hatcher. “Hand creams that contain SPF typically contain titanium oxide and zinc oxide, which are physical sunscreens that protect while alleviating the greasy feel. Also, the palms are one of the most absorbent parts of your body, therefore hand creams containing SPF are quick to absorb. So apply, protect, and dial away with confidence—no slips or broken screens here.”
Help your clients care for their skin both before and after sun exposure with these protecting and nourishing products.—Heather Mikesell
1. Christina Cosmeceuticals Flouroxygen+C IntenC Day Cream SPF-40: Designed to treat discoloration, this moisturizer renews, brightens, and balances skin while protecting it from UV rays with calming zinc oxide. www.christina-usa.com
2. Coola SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray: This matte-finish mist protects sensitive skin and provides anti-aging benefits while keeping makeup looking fresh. www.coolasuncare.com
3. Dermalogica Pure Light SPF 50: Protecting the skin from hyperpigmentation, this medium-weight sunscreen features Oleosome technology, which uses natural plant spheres filled with sunscreens to increase SPF performance. www.dermalogica.com
4. DermaMed Solutions Daily Eclipse: Formulated with micronized titanium dioxide, zinc, and zirconium dioxide, this daily broad-spectrum sunscreen can be used after skin treatments without worry of burning or irritation. www.dermamedsolutions.com
5. Éminence Organic Skin Care Sun Defense Minerals: This all-in-one powder brush provides water-resistant SPF 30 sun protection with hypo-allergenic, non-pore clogging natural minerals and micronized zinc oxide. www.eminenceorganics.com
6. Nelly DeVuyst SPF 30: This anti-aging cream provides triple protection against UVA, UVB, and free radicals. It’s water resistant and suitable for all skin types. derme.ca
7. PCA Skin Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45: Relying on ultra-sheer zinc oxide, this quick-absorbing formula features a light finish, which makes it ideal for use under makeup or by those with oily or breakout-prone skin. www.pcaskin.com
8. Pevonia Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30: This broad-spectrum and easy-to-apply emulsion leaves the skin with a soft matte finish while also shielding the skin and repairing it from sun damage. www.pevoniapro.com
9. Rhonda Allison Sheer Tint Finisher: Natural zinc oxide and titanium dioxide give this aloe- and mineral-based day cream broad-spectrum UV protection. It also leaves skin glowing with a hint of color. www.rhondaallison.com
10. Satin Smooth Skin Care Daily Moisturizer Broad-Spectrum SPF 30: Formulated with Axp33, vitamin C, and other ingredients, this hydrating formula fights wrinkles, brightens skin, and decreases the risk of skin cancer. www.satinsmooth.com
11. Tizo Daytime Protection SPF 35: This water-resistant formula contains ceramides to replenish the skin’s lipid layer and 16 percent zinc oxide to protect from UV rays. www.tizofusion.com
12. Vita Liberata Neroli & Argan Milk SPF 50: This soothing and non-greasy broad-spectrum SPF milk contains argan and neroli oil to help protect and repair skin. It is also water resistant. www.vitaliberata.com