BREAKING NEWS: The laws regarding how your sunscreen is measured and disclosed are going to change by June 2012, according to an announcement by the FDA on June 14th, 2011. New requirements will be imposed to ensure that only sunscreens with UVA and UVB protection at an SPF 15 or higher can claim “broad spectrum protection”. This announcement – just in – is very timely and relevant to this article.
After an unusually cold winter and a tumultuous spring, sunny summer days are finally here and a welcome sight across the country. It’s time to make the most of clear skies and the great outdoors – whether that means the mountain air or the cool waters of the beach or anywhere in between. What it also means is that this is the time of the year when your skin, once covered over for months, is now about to be constantly bombarded with those searing summer rays.
We are all increasingly aware of the admonition of the Skin Cancer Society to wear a good sunscreen daily, and to reapply it often when out engaging in physical activities. The norm is to look at the SPF number on your sunscreen in order to know how much protection you are getting. But is that the sole measure for protection against the sun’s damaging effects? If you are concerned only about preventing a painful sunburn, SPF is a good measure. However, you may be surprised to find that a good SPF does not mean you are getting adequate protection from the types of photo-damage that can cause your skin to look very aged and sun-battered faster and to a noticeably greater extent than it otherwise would.
You see, the SPF or Sun Protection Factor rating is largely a measure of protection against one type of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, known as UVB. Exposure to UVB radiation is what causes sunburns, and can lead to some forms of skin cancer. So, protecting against UVB radiation is very, very important. In the past, protection against UVA rays was considered less important, as they penetrated the skin more deeply but did not cause a sunburn. However, today’s medical science understands that these deep penetrating rays can damage collagen fibers and destroy vitamin-A in skin, accelerating the aging process. In fact, recent research also shows that UVA radiation can contribute to malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer – by acting as an indirect trigger of free radical DNA damage. That is to say, 92% of all Melanoma cancers are caused by free radicals and oxidative stress, which damage the DNA in the cells of the skin. Unprotected UVA radiation can trigger free radicals in the skin. Perhaps it is for that reason that the newly proposed June 2012 ruling from the FDA will only allow broad spectrum sunscreens (that effectively screen both UVA and UVB rays) to state that they can help to reduce the risk of skin cancer. A traditional SPF rating of even 50, earned by sunscreen agents that block UVB rays alone, will not make the FDA’s new labeling cut.
This is also very important to understand, because even among sunscreens that claim broad UVB and UVA protection, not all sunscreens protect skin the same way. Some sunscreens use chemical compounds that absorb ultraviolet light. This can be effective protection against deep tissue damage, though there is a concern that as these chemicals absorb into the surface of the skin, and then absorb the UV light, they may transfer heat energy to surrounding tissue, triggering hyperpigmentation in skin that is hyperpigmentation-prone to begin with. For such skin types, the better alternative may be to use a physical block sunscreen. These are sunscreens that use minerals (Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide) to deflect and scatter the UV radiation away from the skin. And while they do absorb some of the radiation and heat, they tend to sit on top of the skin as a protective layer, so that the heat is not readily dispersed to the layers of skin where melanin production can be stimulated (which in turn can lead to increased hyperpigmentation).
So – using a full spectrum physical block that provides UVA and UVB protection, with some combination of Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide is a sign of really good protection. But let’s also address the word “block”. Physical sunscreens really do act to block the radiation from your skin, but no matter what the SPF rating (and remember, SPF is only a measure of UVB protection), there is no such thing as a 100% block. The FDA is also planning to address this in their 2012 ruling – by not allowing any sunscreen to use the term “Sun Block”. An SPF 30, for example, blocks about 97% of the UVB rays, while an SPF 50 will get you up to about 98%. So the differences above SPF 30 become very small. So what do you do about those harmful rays that get through?
The makers of Lumixyl™ have addressed that question with their new medical grade sunscreen, Lumixyl MoistureLock Sunscreen SPF30. This is a physical sunscreen with micronized titanium dioxide, using a proprietary method to allow a very even application that goes on smoothly and rubs in invisibly on the skin. They then added a new ingredient known as SymHelios® 1031. SymHelios was invented in Europe and is shown to block the toxic interactions that would otherwise take place between UVB rays and the proteins in our skin cells. In doing so, it helps prevent toxic interactions that may otherwise damage skin structure.
This is the first sunscreen of its kind in the United States, combining SymHelios protection with micronized physical sunscreens, and the reviews so far have been very favorable. MoistureLock is available through hundreds of cosmetic dermatology, cosmetic surgery and medical-spa outlets across the country.
Carpe sunny diem! It’s finally summer so go out and seize those sunny days with enthusiasm! Just remember to take proper care of your skin as you do – and your skin will take very proper care of you for years to come.
More information on the Lumixyl Topical Brightening System and the exciting new Lumixyl MoistureLock Sunscreen SPF30 can be found HERE at the ENVY Medical website. To find a Lumixyl physician near you, click HERE.
About Lumixyl. Lumixyl is manufactured and marketed by Envy Medical, Inc. Envy Medical develops, markets and sells highly effective non-invasive skin rejuvenation therapies for patients suffering from either dermatologic or aesthetic conditions. The Company’s lead products include SilkPeel®, a breakthrough device combining exfoliation with Dermalinfusion™ for deeper tissue delivery of active ingredients and better patient outcomes. Envy is also the exclusive licensor of skin brightening peptides including Lumixyl, developed at Stanford University. The Lumixyl peptide is now also available in a topical solution for SilkPeel procedures, addressing hyperpigmentation and photo-damage. More information can be found at www.envymedical.com or by calling (888) 848-3633.
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