Suncare should be something that is on everyone’s minds, especially under the hot Australian sun. With sun exposure being such a well-acknowledged danger to our skin, the importance of sunscreen and suncare products is indubitable. Formulating suncare products like sunscreen and after-sun products takes a lot of time and research. We asked our suncare formulating expert, and research and development manager Fabrizio for some answers.
How long does it take to create a new sun protection formulation?
With sunscreens being regulated as listed medicines there’s a lot of science and a little bit of art when it comes to formulation a sunscreen. It takes a great deal of time and there are multiple rounds of testing, in particular when it comes to SPF testing to make sure that the combination of UV filters has been optimised to deliver that highest protection. It really comes down to the choice of the suitable filters and the choice of the suitable ingredients for the different vehicles for the different formulas to make sure that all the testing that is going to be carried out in terms of not only performance, but also skin irritation and compatibility with sensitive skin in particular, are still part of that delivery in terms of the performance and safety that SunSense is all about
What is the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen?
They both work with the objective of reducing the amount of ultraviolet radiation hitting the skin. But chemical absorbers or chemical blockers work by absorbing the ultraviolet radiation and then dissipating that energy throughout the skin in a non-damaging way. Physical blockers actually work by reflecting that UV radiation away from the skin. So different mechanisms of action, but in the end the same result which is basically taking the excess energy away from the skin and minimising skin damage.
At what age should you start using sunscreen?
The recommendation is to avoid exposure to any ultraviolet radiation when under six months of age, so the recommendation in that case is to just keep babies away from the sun, wear adequate protective clothing, and definitely look for shade. Above 6 months, it’s really important to use products that have been tested.
What about other skin needs?
For teenagers in particular, especially if the concern is oily skin, it is recommended to use a lighter product that is not cream based. They still provide the suitable SPF protection, very high protection, but they have a lighter feel and definitely will not impact skin appearance of oily skin.
For adult skin, or overall for the whole family, SunSense Sport and SunSense Ultra are actually very good all-rounder products that provide the highest possible UV protection and still guarantee a very nice, light, skin feel for everyone.
Is it enough to wear a facial moisturiser with SPF?
If a facial moisturiser with SPF means that you’re only apply the product once or twice a day, it’s probably not enough. It’s a good starting point to make sure that you do provide SPF protection to the skin, but then you want to top that up. If you know your activities for a day are going to take you outside, even just for a walk on the beach or a lunch break, you’ll want to use a purpose made sunscreen that still provides moisturisation, such as the SunSense Daily Face.
By Dr. Fabrizio Spada, PhD.
Fabrizio is the Research and Development Manager at Ego Pharmaceuticals. He has been member of many successful formulation teams in Australia, Europe and the USA. When not in the lab, you might find Fab, as he’s commonly referred to, performing at amateur theatre or the local karaoke.