Utility of mineral, skin-matching cosmetics varies

May 1, 2011

Mineral cosmetics have been popularized as better for sensitive skin, rosacea patients and acne prevention. Is there something magical about a mineral cosmetic? The answer is "no." Mineral cosmetics are simply powder cosmetics as opposed to lotions or creams. They are better for people with multiple sensitivities because they have fewer ingredients.

Key Points

Q Are mineral cosmetics more natural?

A Mineral cosmetics have been popularized as better for sensitive skin, rosacea patients and acne prevention. Is there something magical about a mineral cosmetic? The answer is "no."

In terms of mineral cosmetics, it might mean that the pigments and powders are made from ground-up rocks that are natural. However, these "rocks" are highly processed before they are put on your face. It is a matter of opinion as to whether these cosmetics are truly natural.

Q Is there anything new in sunscreens - even though the sunscreen monograph has not yet been finalized?

A Everyone is waiting for the final sunscreen monograph to be presented by the Food and Drug Administration. Sunscreens are considered over-the-counter drugs and must follow the rules set forth in the monograph. There are several changes anticipated.

The first change is that the SPF designation, which currently stands for sun protection factor, will be changed to sunburn protection factor. This is an excellent wording change because SPF indeed only addresses UVB issues.

It also paves the way for a new rating system for UVA protection. The proposed rating system will use four stars to indicate the amount of UVA protection based on the persistent pigment-darkening methodology. This is quite valuable, as it will allow patients to better understand the ability of a given sunscreen to prevent premature photodamage and skin cancer.

The four stars will be somewhat challenging to achieve, however, given the paucity of new UVA photoprotectants. It is hoped that new photoprotectants, such as Tinosorb (bemotrizinol, BASF) and Mexoryl (ecamsule, L'Oréal, will also be approved.

There are some new developments in photoprotection that are presently available, despite the lack of the final monograph. New ingredients that increase the ability of sunscreen photoprotectants to stay on the skin - such as intelimer - are finding their way into formulations.

In addition, photoreflecting spheres that reflect UV energy from the sphere surface and bounce UV energy around in the hollow interior of the sphere represent new approaches to photoprotection practices. These spheres do not require monograph approval. This is because they are completely inert polymer spheres.

Both of these developments are exciting new approaches, both of which are currently being utilized in today's sunscreens.