Beyond sunscreens: Integrating oral supplements for optimal photoprotection

Beyond sunscreens Integrating oral supplements for optimal photoprotection

In the ever-evolving landscape of cosmetics and personal care, B2B manufacturers and suppliers are constantly exploring innovative solutions to address changing consumer needs. As consumer awareness around the need for comprehensive sun protection strategies continues to become more pervasive, the concept of incorporating oral supplements with topical sunscreens is emerging as a promising approach.

To learn more about this growing beauty from within segment, CosmeticsDesign spoke to Nuria Caturla Cernuda, Chief R&D Officer, Monteloeder at SuanNutra for her insights into the limitations of relying solely on topical sunscreens for skin photoprotection. In our discussion, we delve into the latest industry trends, research, and innovations highlighting the potential benefits and challenges of adjunctive photoprotection strategies.

CDU: What are the acknowledged limitations of relying solely on topical sunscreens for photoprotection?​ 

Nuria Caturla Cernuda (NCC)​: Skin photoprotection is traditionally referred to only topical sunscreens. However, they have some drawbacks and often are not enough to provide reliable all-day protection.   

Most people only apply sunscreens during holidays or sunny days however the 80% of sun exposure occurs in normal daily life. Consumers generally do not apply correctly regarding quantity and forget to reapply every 2 hours.  

There are many studies that have demonstrated that people usually apply a quarter of the amount need to get the SPF rating on the bottle. That’s means that in case you use a product designed to offer an SPF of 50, in reality, you are applying only a protection of 3. Effectiveness is affected by perspiration, washing, or rubbing.  

Moreover, the Sunscreens only offer a surface physical protection, do not offer biological defense against sunlight and even if well applied, topical photoprotection may neutralize only part of the free radicals, the others continue to damage the skin.  

Therefore, include between the photoprotection measures a dietary approach that can complement the sunscreen will contributes to provide a better and lifelong photoprotection. 

CDU: Are there emerging trends or discussions within the industry that highlight the need for adjunctive strategies alongside topical sunscreens?​ 

NCC​: Overall, the industry is recognizing that while topical sunscreens are essential, they are most effective when used as part of a broader, multifaceted approach to sun protection. 

Increased Awareness of UV exposure, education and behavioral change: there is a growing emphasis on educating the public about comprehensive sun safety, promoting regular sunscreen use, reapplication every two hours, and combining sunscreens with other protective measures, such as wearing UV-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses, as well as seeking shade during peak sun hours. 

Innovations in wearable technology are providing new ways to monitor UV exposure and promote protective behaviors. These devices, including UV-detecting wristbands, patches, and smart clothing, are equipped to alert users when they have reached potentially harmful levels of UV radiation, reminding them to take necessary precautions such as reapplying sunscreen or seeking shelter.

Additionally, these devices can be seamlessly integrated with smartphone apps, providing users with real-time UV exposure data and personalized recommendations for sun protection. 

Dermatology and skin care are moving towards personalized approaches. This involves customizing sun protection strategies to suit an individual’s specific skin type, daily activities, and genetic predispositions.

By integrating personalized advice and tailored products with the use of topical sunscreens, it is possible to create highly effective and targeted sun protection regimens. This individualized approach ensures that each person receives the most suitable protection for their unique skin and lifestyle

And of course, the use of oral supplements has emerged as an important strategy to complement topical sunscreens and enhance the skin’s resistance to UV damage. These supplements provide systemic protection by boosting the skin’s natural defenses against the harmful effects of sun exposure, 

CDU: What is your perspective on the recent research advocating for the incorporation of oral photoprotectants, such as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols, into skin care formulations?​ 

NCC​: By incorporating oral photoprotectants such as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and polyphenols into skin care products, we extend the spectrum of protection beyond what topical treatments alone can achieve. These compounds work from within, boosting the skin’s natural defenses against UV damage.

Vitamins such as vitamin C and E act as antioxidants, scavenging free radicals generated by UV radiation, while minerals such as zinc oxide provide physical protection by reflecting and scattering UV rays. Carotenoids, found in fruits and vegetables, contribute to skin health by increasing its resistance to sun-induced inflammation and oxidative stress. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and photoprotective properties, further boosting the skin’s defenses. 

Incorporating these oral photoprotectants into our daily skin care routine offers a multi-faceted approach to sun protection. While traditional sunscreens work primarily by forming a barrier on the skin’s surface, oral sunscreens work systemically to strengthen the barrier from within.

This comprehensive strategy not only protects against immediate sun damage, but also helps to mitigate long-term effects such as premature ageing, hyperpigmentation. By taking this holistic approach to skin care, we are proactively protecting the health and vitality of our skin and ensuring its resilience to the damaging effects of sun exposure over time. 

CDU: Have there been any notable shifts in industry attitudes towards oral photoprotectants, considering their potential systemic benefits in conjunction with topical sunscreens?​ 

NCC​: The industry is increasingly recognizing the potential benefits of oral photoprotectants when used with topical sunscreens. Some key points that highlight these positive changes are: 

  • Increased Research and Development: There has been a significant increase in research and development efforts focused on oral photoprotectants. Companies are investing in clinical trials to better understand the effectiveness of these supplements and to confirm their benefits. 
  • Product Innovation: Innovations in the formulation of oral photoprotectants have made them more appealing to consumers. 
  • Endorsements from Dermatologists: Increasingly, dermatologists are endorsing the use of oral photoprotectants as part of a comprehensive sun protection regimen. 
  • Consumers are more inclined to seek out supplements that offer additional health benefits beyond sun protection. Holistic  
  • Endorsements from Dermatologists: Increasingly, dermatologists are recommending the use of oral photoprotectants as part of a comprehensive sun protection regimen. Professional endorsements lend credibility to these products. 
  • Consumer Demand for Natural Solutions: There is a growing consumer preference for natural and holistic health solutions, which has extended to sun protection. And oral photoprotectants, often derived from natural sources like botanical sources, algae, etc. align well with this trend. 

CDU: How feasible is it for manufacturers to integrate oral photoprotectants into existing or future skin care products?​ 

NCC​: Incorporating oral photoprotectants into existing or future skin care products is feasible for manufacturers but presents both opportunities and challenges. 

On the one hand, many oral photoprotectants, such as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and polyphenols, are already available in supplement form and have been extensively studied for their benefits to skin health. Manufacturers can use existing research and formulations to incorporate these ingredients into skin care products, either as standalone components or as part of complex formulations. 

However, there are challenges to consider: regulatory requirements can vary depending on the specific ingredients and their intended use, adding complexity to the development and marketing process. In addition, educating consumers about the benefits of oral sunscreens in skin care and dispelling any misconceptions or skepticism may be necessary to drive market acceptance and uptake. 

Overall, the integration of oral sunscreens into skin care products, while presenting technical and regulatory challenges, represents a promising avenue for improving sun protection and overall skin health, with the potential for significant consumer benefits. 

CDU: Are there any challenges or considerations unique to formulating products that combine topical sunscreens with oral photoprotectants?​ 

NCC​: Certainly, regulatory hurdles stand out as a major concern. These hurdles can vary depending on the ingredients involved and their intended use, complicating both development and marketing efforts.

One notable regulatory barrier is the restriction on discussing the beneficial properties of oral sunscreens, a privilege typically reserved for topical sunscreens. This restriction persists despite clinical evidence demonstrating the efficacy and benefits of oral sunscreens.

There’s also a need to educate consumers about the benefits of incorporating oral sunscreens into their skin care routines and to dispel any misconceptions or doubts that may exist. Such efforts are essential to promote market acceptance and encourage the uptake of these innovative products. 

CDU: Have there been any recent innovations with oral photoprotectant formulation and development?​ 

NCC​: Indeed, recent innovation in the formulation and development of oral sunscreens has centered on the emergence of scientifically backed botanical extracts. These extracts are undergoing extensive testing to determine their efficacy against the adverse effects of overexposure to the sun.

While conventional products containing vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene have long dominated the market, attention is now shifting to botanical extracts due to the promising results of scientific research. 

One notable innovation in this area is NutroxSun, an exclusive blend of natural photoprotectant with antioxidant properties derived from rosemary and grapefruit extracts. Clinical trials have shown that oral supplementation with NutroxSun effectively mitigates the damaging effects of solar radiation, preventing hyperpigmentation and reducing the signs of skin ageing.

Preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that this unique botanical combination acts within the body to provide increased protection against sun-induced damage to the skin. Both rosemary and grapefruit extracts contain unique phenolic compounds that work synergistically to systematically to scavenge free radicals generated by solar radiation.

The study found that survival of human keratinocytes (HaCaT cells) after UVB radiation was higher in treatments using the combination of extracts than in those performed with individual extracts, indicating potential synergic effect. Also, the study demonstrated that the combined extracts decreased UVB-induced intracellular radical oxygen species (ROS), inhibits the release of inflammatory cytokines like IL Alpha, IL-6 and IL-8 and prevented DNA damage.  

CDU: From your perspective, is there a growing demand among consumers for skin care products that offer adjunctive photoprotection strategies beyond traditional sunscreens? 

NCC​: Yes, consumers are increasingly prioritizing products formulated with clean, natural and environmentally friendly ingredients. Sun protection is no longer limited to days at the beach or outdoor activities; it has become an integral part of daily skin care routines.

As a result, sun care products are expanding beyond traditional sunscreen lotions to include a wide range of formats such as nutritional supplements, lip balms, makeup primers and even hair care products with UV protection. This diversification of product offerings meets the growing demand for convenient, multi-purpose solutions that offer sun protection without compromising on efficacy or aesthetics.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) remains a key factor for consumers when choosing sun care products. However, there’s a shift towards multifunctional SPF formulations that offer additional skin care benefits beyond sun protection. These include products with anti-aging, moisturizing and anti-pollution properties.                  

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