Ready for a good and conscious suntan? Let’s know better sunscreens.
Dr. Riccardo Matera
A 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 wavelength (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.
Sunscreens: an important protection for our skin
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 manufacturers 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.
BeC sun-care products are based on a careful combination of the best photostable sunscreen (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
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!
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:
- para-aminobenzoic (PABA) acid derivatives screen UVB rays with absorbance maximum peaks between 285 and 310 nm.
- 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.
- Benzylidencamphor derivatives screen UVB rays and are quencher as well.
- Dibenzoylmethane derivatives protect from UVA rays.
- Benzophenones absorb both UVA and UVB rays.
- Salicilates boast a moderate absorbing efficacy in UVB region, with absorbance maximum at around 305 nm.
- Triazines, i.e. Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, are excellent photo-stable sunscreen covering the wide range of UVA and UVB.
- Diphenylcyanoacrilates, i.e. Octocrylene represent a good wide range UVA-UVB sunscreen.
- Titanium bioxide and Zinc oxide represent physical sunscreen characterized by full UV-range coverage and reflecting action with sunlight scattering properties.
Cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and the inflammatory process
Cyclooxygenase and lipooxygenase are the two families of enzymes that are commonly involved in the inflammatory process, through a complex of reactions which is called arachidonic acid cascade. This complex of reactions develops as follows: a first enzyme, a phospholipase cleaves the phospholipids of biological membranes, releasing arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid with 20 carbon atoms (eicosa-5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z-tetraenoic acid ; C20:4; ω-6). The arachidonic acid is then transformed by two parallel enzymatic pathways, that is, by two families of enzymes: the cyclooxygenase which transforms it into prostaglandins and thromboxanes and the lipooxygenase which transforms it into hydroperoxides which in turn transform into leukotrienes .
There are two cyclooxygenase isoforms indicated with type 1 and type 2, briefly COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is the enzyme present in most cells (except red blood cells), and is constitutive, that is, it is always present. COX-2 is an inducible cyclooxygenase isoform: it is constitutively present in some organs such as brain, liver, kidney, stomach, heart and vascular system, while it can be induced (i.e. developed if necessary) following inflammatory stimuli on the skin, white blood cells and muscles.
There are various types of lipooxygenase that lead to different products, the most important in the inflammatory process is 5-lipooxygenase, 5-LOX.
Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes, and Leukotrienes
Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes, and Leukotrienes are chemical messengers or mediators, that is, molecules that bring a message to specific cells and activate or deactivate metabolic responses in these cells. They, therefore, have a function similar to hormones, only that, unlike what hormones do, the chemical message is carried only at a short distance, that is, only to the cells that are in the vicinity of the place where the mediators were produced. There are different prostaglandins, different thromboxanes and different leukotrienes that carry specific messages. In many cases these act as mediators of the inflammatory process , therefore they trigger all the events that are involved in inflammation:
– vasodilation with consequent blood supply (redness),
– increased capillary permeability with consequent fluid exudation (swelling or edema),
– stimulation of nociceptive nerve signals (pain),
– on-site recall of immune system cells that attack a possible invader (chemotactic action)
– activation of the biosynthesis of fibrous tissue to strengthen or repair the affected part (even if there is no need)
– generations of free radicals that can chemically destroy an invader (but also damage our tissues, i.e. they just “shoot in the middle”).
Prostaglandins and thromboxanes, however, also play important physiological roles in normal conditions, i.e. in the absence of inflammation. For example, they regulate the secretion of mucus that protects the walls of the stomach, they regulate the biosynthesis of cartilages and synovial fluid in the joints, they regulate vasodilation, hence the correct flow of blood in the various local districts, and more.
Triglycerides are the main components of most oils and fats. These are heavy, non-volatile and little polar molecules, insoluble in water, made up of glycerol (or glycerin) esterified with three molecules of fatty acids: therefore, it is a tri-ester of glycerin, from which the name derives. Each fatty acid contains 8 to 22 carbon atoms (commonly 16 to 18) and can be saturated, mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated. The size of the fatty acids and their saturation determines the physical and sensorial properties of the triglycerides, which can appear as oils (liquids at room temperature) or fats (solid or semi-solid) and can have greater or less greasiness and smoothness on the skin. Unsaturated triglycerides or with shorter fatty acids are more fluid and have greater flowability.
Fatty acids (saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated)
The name fatty acids is commonly used to indicate those organic acids that are found in the composition of lipids, that is, in animal and vegetable oils and fats, both in the free form and in the form of esters with glycerol (e.g. in triglycerides), or they are esterified with “fatty” alcohols, that is, long chain alcohols, to form waxes. Fatty acids are carboxylic acids (formula R-COOH) which have a long carbon chain (R), unlike common organic acids such as acetic acid and propionic acid, which have 2 or 3 carbon atoms in total, respectively. Fatty acids are defined as saturatedif they do not have double carbon-carbon bonds, (called “unsaturations”), they are defined mono-unsaturated if they have only one, they are defined mono-unsaturatedpoly-unsaturated if they have two or more double bonds (see figure). The term omega-3 (ω-3) or omega-6 (ω-3), refers to the position of the first double bond starting from the bottom of the chain of carbon atoms: if the first double bond is encountered after 3 carbon atoms the fatty acid is classified as omega-3 , if after six carbon atoms omega-6 , as shown in the figure. The most common saturated fatty acids are palmitic acid (16 carbon atoms and no double bond, C16: 0) and stearic acid (18 carbon atoms, 18: 0), the most common mono-unsaturated is the oleic acid, typical of olive oil (18 carbon atoms and 1 double bond in position 9, C18: 1; ω-9), while the most common poly-unsaturated are linoleic acid and linolenic acid, progenitors respectively omega-6 and omega-3 (see figure).
Terpenes and terpenoids
Terpenes or terpenoids are a large family of natural molecules, typically containing 10 to 30 carbon atoms, which are biosynthesized from a common “brick”, isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP), containing 5 carbon atoms (see figure). The discovery that the repetitive brick consists of 5 carbon atoms is relatively recent, while it was once assumed that the entire family was created by repeating a brick of 10 carbon atoms, which was called “terpene”. Therefore, the molecules with 10 carbon atoms (such as limonene, see figure) were called mono-terpenes, i.e. composed of a single brick, diterpenes those with 20 carbon atoms (e.g. the cafestol that gives the aroma to the coffee), triterpenes those with 30 carbon atoms (e.g. beta-carotene). Since molecules made from 15 carbon atoms were also found (such as bisabolol), it was thought they contained a terpene and a half, and were called sesquiterpenes (from the Latin semis = half + atque = and). Today it is known that the repetitive unit is composed of 5 carbon atoms, therefore it is easy to understand how mono-terpenes contain two (see figure), sesquiterpenes three, diterpenes four, triterpenes six.