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Sunscreens for Today's Consumers

By Rachel Ametsitsi, Ada Polla and Anne Pouillot
Posted: March 24, 2014, from the April 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Waterproof or water-resistant. The term “water-resistant” describes a formulation not easily washed off by contact with water, usually achieved by the incorporation of silicone oils, dimethicones and/or cyclomethicones. The term “waterproof” is not recognized by the FDA.

Nanoparticles. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in nano size (with a particle size of 100 nm or less) are often used as UV filters. When incorporated into sunscreens, these nanoparticles avoid the formation of white residue typically left on the skin when the particles are larger in size. However, in recent years, there has been a public concern in regard to the ability of nanoparticles to penetrate the skin and potentially cause harmful effects. The European Union requires the use of nanoparticles in cosmetic products be explicitly declared on product packaging and listed as a part of the ingredients. In the list of ingredients, the substances will be followed by the term “nano” in brackets; for example, titanium dioxide (nano).

EPF. EPF is not a term officially recognized by the FDA; however, some brands use it to describe the photo-protective effect of some antioxidant molecules, such as green tea. In general, it should be noted layering antioxidant products under any sunscreen product will enhance overall protection from free radicals, because the antioxidants will neutralize any that are not blocked or absorbed by the sunscreen.

The Only Constant is Change

Overall, what is true in life is true in the realm of sunscreens—the only constant is change. Between innovative ingredients continually developed by beauty and pharmaceutical companies and the ever-shifting guidelines from the FDA, there is always more to learn and more to share with your customers.


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Rachel Ametsitsi recently joined Alchimie Forever as a scientific assistant. With research experience and a master of scientific international business, she works in new product R&D, scientific writing and international business development.

Ada Polla is the co-creator of the Swiss antioxidant skin care line Alchimie Forever. Her strategic focus and implementation have yielded double-digit annual revenue growth for the company. She holds an MBA from Georgetown University, majored in art history and political science at Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999. She also is a GCI magazine editorial advisor.

Anne Pouillot joined Alchimie Forever in February 2006 as an intern, then was promoted to scientific and technical assistant, when she obtained her master’s degree in biochemistry with a specialization in plant molecules. She is involved in the conception and formulation of Alchimie Forever products.