Article by: Perry Romanowski
There was a time when having tanned skin and laying out in the sun’s rays was considered healthy. However, the dangers of UV rays are becoming more apparent as cases of melanoma have risen dramatically over the past three decades. These sobering statistics have prompted people to avoid the sun’s rays and use UV-blocking skin lotion. While this may lower the risk of developing skin cancer, what many people do not consider is that the skin on their face is constantly vulnerable to UV damage as they go about their daily activities, even if they wear makeup. As such, today’s cosmetic products should be formulated with UV protection, no matter if they are meant to cover blemishes or balance the complexion.
How UV Protection Works
Understanding of how UV protection works to guard the skin against damage and dangerous growths that may develop into melanoma is paramount to creating effective formulations. UV rays create molecules called free radicals, which are highly unstable and unbalanced. When free radicals invade unprotected skin, they begin to scavenge missing elements from healthy skin cells. As a result, functioning cells begin to behave abnormally and are eventually destroyed.
Free radicals also destroy collagen and elastin, the two proteins in the skin that keep it firm and elastic. When many free radicals enter unprotected skin, wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of premature aging begin to appear. Eventually, some damaged cells begin to mutate, which can lead to melanoma. UV protection blocks free radicals from entering the skin by reflecting the sun’s rays and protecting healthy cells.
Choosing a UV Protection Level
UV protection should be an element of any cosmetic formulation; however, not all ratings are equal and some are not even sufficient enough to properly protect the skin. Some existing foundations, BB creams, and lotions currently include SPF 15 protection. However, many dermatologists assert that this is not enough, especially for those who spend a great deal of time exposed to the sun’s rays. While research shows that SPF 15 may be strong enough if applied in thick layers, it is not suitable as a cosmetics additive due to how most foundations and creams are applied. To create cosmetics formulations that protect the skin from the sun, SPF 30 or more should be included.
Natural UV Ingredients
A large percentage of cosmetics consumers today are concerned about applying ingredients to their skin that may prove harmful in the long run. As a result, today’s cosmetics’ formulations should include natural UV solutions that consumers will feel confident about using. Breakthroughs in natural UV protection are being introduced all the time and some of the most recent discoveries include:
Propolis, which is a natural sealing element made from bee pollen
Elements from the alder buckthorn tree, which is native to the UK, Asia, and Africa
Buriti oil, which is extracted from the moriche palm of South Africa
In order to keep formulations safe, formulators should carefully consider how these elements might react with other ingredients before using them.
Other Natural UV Alternatives
Other natural UV ingredients proven to offer limited UV protection include vanilla extract, raspberry, and aloe vera. All of these ingredients are a viable alternative to the usual standbys of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide; however, it is important that each of their individual strengths and longevity be considered, especially when creating long-lasting cosmetics like foundation. Today’s makeup users require that their cosmetics last throughout the day with little need to reapply, and this should include the ingredients included for UV protection.
Providing Different Levels of UV Protection
Creating a variety of cosmetics products that provide UV protection is necessary in order to serve a more diverse range of consumers. After all, no two individuals have the same skin type and may require more or less protection depending on where they live, how often they are exposed to the sun, their complexion, and whether they have any existing skin conditions that makes applying cosmetics a challenge. For example, an individual living in the UK may only need foundation with SPF 15 as opposed to someone living in El Paso, TX where the sun is particularly powerful many months out of the year and who may need cosmetics with an SPF of thirty or more.
The necessity of creating diverse formulations should be considered an industry standard as experts in bioscience, such as Bruce Eaton, consistently create new patents in the field in order to offer products to a wider range of individuals. Not only does this improve consumer happiness, it gives formulators the chance to come up with new and unique ways to use UV ingredients as they create effective products.
UV Protection Should Be for Everyone
No matter which UV-blocking ingredients cosmetics formulators choose to include in their products, each formulation should include at least some level of protection. Not only will cosmetics with UV protection lower the risk of melanoma, they will also prevent the formation of wrinkles and age spots. As a result, consumers will need less coverage and be able to stretch their cosmetics budget and keep them loyal to a formulator’s product.