Sunscreens containing antioxidants can benefit skin health, say Coppertone

By Katie Nichol

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ultraviolet

Broad spectrum sunscreens that contain antioxidants can offer skin health benefits in addition to providing sun protection, according to scientists at the Coppertone Solar Research Center.

Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, the consumer healthcare division of Coppertone makers, Merck & Co, unveiled the results of studies examining the efficacy of topical antioxidant-containing sunscreens at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology

“Topical antioxidants are rapidly emerging as a breakthrough innovation in sun care,” ​said Robert Bianchini, vice president of R&D at the Coppertone Solar Research Center.

“The results of our research demonstrate that there are many skin health benefits and applications to adding antioxidants to a sunscreen formula,” ​he added.

In vivo ​show additional skin benefits

In vivo​ tests conducted using selected products from the Coppertone 2010 range showed that the antioxidant blends they contain provide additional skin benefits beyond sun protection, the company claims.

The 12 week trials showed daily use of the products demonstrated a ‘measurable improvement’ in signs that contribute to skin aging in subjects that had mild to moderate photo damage, clinical evaluators found.

Parameters measured included visible dryness of the skin, roughness, mottled skin tone, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Certain antioxidants can reduce free-radical formation

An ex vivo ​study, which refers to experiments conducted on tissue in an artificial environment, provided ‘significant evidence’ that certain antioxidants contained in sunscreen can help strengthen the skin’s natural defenses, according to Schering-Plough.

However, the company said that research has shown several antioxidants, including some plant extracts, can transform into damaging pro-oxidants when exposed to sunlight due to an unexpected reaction to UV radiation.

Consequently, antioxidants contained in two of Coppertone’s sunscreen products were tested - Coppertone Sport with Replenishing Antioxidants and Coppertone Kids with Protective Vitamins – to ensure they continued to function properly.

The study was carried out by an independent researcher at the Coppertone Solar Research Center, and evaluated the overall effectiveness of particular topical antioxidants in reducing the formation of free radicals.

It was revealed that free radical formation was reduced by 74 percent in the outer layers of the skin exposed to UV, which, according to Schering-Plough, is especially relevant to those whose skin may be rendered more vulnerable to the effects of sun exposure as a result of outdoor activities.

Vitamin E is key ingredient

According to Bianchini, Vitamin E, one of the primary antioxidants in the sunscreens tested is “a key ingredient in preserving skin’s barrier function and for helping to maintain skin health”​.

“Since Vitamin E may be lost from the skin during environmental stress, such as outdoor exercise, using a broad spectrum sunscreen with antioxidants proven to help restore these elements is important,”​ he said.

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