Skincare products with SP-factors prevent sun damage and benefit skin in the long term. But how exactly does it work?

Society often perceives the condition of a person’s skin as an indicator of their overall health and how well they take care of themselves.

Damage caused by the sun is a leading cause of premature skin aging and contributes significantly to worsening other underlying problems. This article is meant to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of ultraviolet-mediated skin cell damage and how products with SP factors developed by the Formulage team of specialists prevent this damage and its long-term effects.

The specialists are mindful of the underlying molecular mechanisms causing problems in skin. By keeping this in mind, Formulage aims to help people feel at home in their skin and bring back lost confidence to their clients by carefully developing products targeted at treating and preventing these conditions.


The nature of ultraviolet light and its connection to skin damage

The electromagnetic waves that radiate from the sun can reach the earth’s surface and consist of infrared-, visible- and ultraviolet light components. UV light is a known carcinogen, but only UVA (with wavelengths of 315-400nm) and UVB (280-315nm) components penetrate the ozone layer to the earth’s surface and cause damage to the skin.

The ozone layer absorbs UVC (200-280nm), preventing it from causing any harm. UVB radiation has a shorter wavelength. Therefore it is more energetic than UVA and is responsible for most of the tissue damage associated with sunburn.

UVA has a longer wavelength (315-400nm); is less active and harmful than UVB (280-315), but is considered more responsible for producing reactive chemical species that put oxidative stress on skin cells.

Ultraviolet light is, however, essential for the body’s natural production of Vitamin D, a lipid-soluble molecule responsible for phosphate and calcium absorption and skeletal bone mineralization. However, excessive exposure to UV light (especially in the UVB wavelengths) can result in erythema or redness of the skin, temporary inflammation, and discomfort in the short term. In addition, repeated overexposure can severely damage the skin causing melanomas and non-melanomatous cancers; photoaging or the premature onset of aging; more persistent inflammation, and DNA damage.

The overexposure results in the suppression of immune responses that generally prevent cancer proliferation.


UV radiation’s impact on skin cell integrity

UV radiation generates free radicals that attack macromolecules such as the lipids and proteins in the cell membranes responsible for maintaining the integrity of the skin cell, as well as the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) carrying the information necessary to keep tissues alive and healthy.

The free radicals (such as reactive oxygen species) or UV rays can affect nucleotide base-pairing at the DNA level, causing mutations that could develop into cancer. In addition, UV radiation exposure may also negatively impact the nucleotide excision repair mechanisms responsible for maintaining DNA integrity via removing and repairing mutated portions of DNA. This complete disruption of normal cell functioning and maintenance contributes to the photocarcinogenicity of excessive UV exposure.

Excess UV radiation in the skin leads to oxidative damage, cell cycle changes, and mutations. Oxidative damage occurs because of the release of inflammatory cytokines during cellular response to UV radiation; this produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) that cause tissue injury. Mutations can arise through repetitive changes in the genetic code caused by the radiation.


Standard unprotected responses of the skin

The standard response of the skin to UVB light occurs as follows. First, cellular damage ensues in response to the exposure of epidermal cells to UV-B light. The cells then respond by producing molecular mediators that initiate cellular stress responses, DNA repair, or cell death by apoptosis, depending on the degree of dysregulation or mutations that occur.

One of these mediators stimulate Melanocytes to produce pigment molecules like eumelanin, a dark pigment that blocks UV-photons, and pheomelanin, a light-coloured sulfated pigment that may promote oxidative DNA injury and melanomagenesis (development of melanomatous cancers) by producing free radicals in melanocytes.

The pigment molecules (eumelanin) are transported out of the melanocytes, where they can infiltrate other parts of the skin, resulting in the characteristic darkening associated with sunburn after the initial redness. The darkening is a physiological response in preparation for possible sun exposure to prevent further damage to the underlying tissues the second time. Excessive exposure, however, results in DNA damage to cells involved in the processes mentioned above, leading to dysregulation, mutation, and possible photoaging or cancer.


SPF and Minimal Erythemal Doses

It is, therefore, imperative that people wear sun protection in the form of sunscreen. SPF, or sun protection factor, is a parameter used to indicate a product’s relative efficacy in preventing sunburn and the associated risks. This factor is calculated as a ratio of minimal erythemal dose (MED) or the amount of UV-B radiation that would result in the onset of redness or sunburn. If, for example, a product is labeled as being SPF 50, it will protect the user’s skin against an amount of UVB radiation up to 50-times higher than  unprotected skin needs to become damaged. However, if this product were labeled as being SPF 50+, it would also protect the user from UVA radiation. Therefore, the product needs increased UVA protection for any increase in SPF.


Sun cream SPF contributing constituents

Standard market sunscreens and SPF products utilize inorganic “refractor” or “reflector” molecules, such as Titanium dioxide (TiO2), kaolin, talc, zinc oxide (ZnO), calcium carbonate, and magnesium oxide. These molecules scatter or reflect incoming UV rays when applied to the skin, effectively minimizing the skin’s exposure to the carcinogenic rays of light within the bounds of the associated SPF. Organic “filter” molecules, such as: bemotrizinol, bisoctizole, benzophenone-3 (also known as BZ-3 or oxybenzone), octocrylene, and OM cinnamate, are also commonly used in sunscreens. These molecules act by absorbing the UV-light and using that energy to undergo a conformational change that releases heat in the process, minimizing the absorption of the harmful rays into the skin, once again within the bounds of the assigned SPF.

The conjugated double bonds present in phenolic molecules absorb radiation in the UV spectrum.


How Formulage formulates their sun-protective products

Wim van Nierop (MSc), the Director responsible for the development and manufacturing, along with the team of passionate and knowledgeable specialists, takes great care in ensuring that all of Formulage’s SPF products contain active components of the highest quality. In addition, they ensure that these products work as they are intended to, providing relief for problems ranging from acne to aging. Each product is formulated so that the different organic UV filters used, cover the acceptable range of UV exposure, effectively mitigating the damage that UVA and UVB radiation could cause. The filters are also carefully selected for each product so all the active ingredients work harmoniously and fulfil the intended purpose without decreasing any of the therapeutic effects.

Formulage uses Benzophenone-3, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, and Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl-Tetramethylbutylphenol in their products.

Benzophenone-3 is a compound that absorbs UVB and short UVA rays. Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is an organic ester produced from methoxy cinnamic acid and 2-ethylhexanol, and it is only effective in absorbing UVB rays. Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl-Tetramethylbutylphenol is a hybrid UV absorber because it absorbs UV light in the A and B ranges; it is also very photostable. Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine is also a photostable hybrid UV-absorber. Bis-Ethylhexyl Hydroxydimethoxy Benzylmalonate is a powerful synthetic oxidant that inactivates free radicals generated by UV exposure. These filters are carefully selected and incorporated into Formulage’s SPF products to promote the best possible results in your skin treatment plan.


Formulage SPF products

Formulage’s Acne Prevention Day Cream SPF 30+ contains a unique blend of active ingredients and works by reducing the subclinical inflammation characteristic of acne vulgaris. The active ingredients in turn stimulate ceramide synthesis (necessary for reducing transepidermal water loss and promoting regeneration of the dermal barrier of the skin), and restoring the skin’s natural pH level.

Several factors cause Acne vulgaris, and it needs to be treated at many levels. SPF products are crucial in acne treatment because they provide a barrier against harmful UV rays, thereby helping to prevent the overactive cellular stress responses and inflammation characteristic of acne-prone skin. This product also promotes the maintenance of a healthy skin barrier, preventing water loss and subsequent non-commensal bacterial infection.


Formulage’s Red Complexion Acne Prevention Day Cream SPF 30+ acts very similarly to the standard acne prevention day cream. It is designed to specifically reduce the appearance of inflammation and redness. The unique formulation does not leave behind an oily residue characteristic of most market-available sun creams.


Formulage’s Perfect Skintone SPF 20+ does more than reduce future overproduction of melanin by preventing UV absorption into the skin. It also contains several active ingredients that prevent and reduce hyperpigmentation. Regular use of this product may reduce the appearance of irregular darkening of the skin, resulting in an even skin tone. Perfect Skintone SPF 20+ contains UVA and UVB filters to prevent further hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure.

In the preventative or anti-aging ranges, Formulage’s Activating Day Cream SPF 30+; Activating Neck Cream SPF 30+; Day Cream SPF 30+, and Red Complexion Day Cream SPF 30+ act by promoting cell rejuvenation and regeneration while providing sun-protection as well. The Activating products contain ingredients that activate the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, providing a plumping effect characteristic of a youthful appearance. In addition, all of the products listed in this range have hydrating effects and improve the skin’s natural barrier.


Vit Body Care SPF 15+ protects, nourishes, and hydrates the skin. It contains Rosehip oil, a natural source of vitamins A, C, and E, improving collagen and elastin synthesis, reducing pigmentation, and eliminating free radicals. Aloe Ferox extract reduces inflammation. Vitamin B3 helps to reduce hyperpigmentation. Vit Body Care SPF 15+ enhances the health of our skin and protects us from daily exposure to the sun. This product is meant for use on areas other than the face.

And last but not least, Formulage’s Sun Cream SPF 50+ is specially formulated for longer periods of sun-exposure. The Sun Cream contains high concentrations of UVA and UVB filters, which provide extended protection from damage caused by the sun.


The Formulage Difference

Wim van Nierop and the team of specialists at Formulage have considered all of the biochemical and cellular responses to UV radiation when developing the Formulage SPF range. As a result, each SPF product contains carefully curated active ingredients that specifically target common skin problems and prevent excessive damage caused by sunlight, resulting in radiant, youthful skin. The end result is tried and trusted sun protection products with tangible restorative results that clients keep returning for.

Scroll to Top