Every day, your skin is assaulted by environmental factors that can affect the health of your skin; anything from sun exposure to pollution can weaken your skin. Luckily, Swissline Cell Shock White Lightening Bi-Phase Veil ($124.95, amazon.com) helps to protect your skin from such factors; containing mineral sunscreens (SPF 15) and a few marine actives, this final step in your skincare regime could help you fight signs of aging caused by environmental exposure.
Mineral sunscreens, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, protect your skin from sun exposure by physically blocking the sun from entering your skin. Chemical sunscreens like avobenzone and oxybenzone, on the other hand, cause a chemical reaction. They absorb and dissipate UV light, turning it into heat or a different wavelength of light so the UV light doesn’t harm your skin. Typically, mineral sunscreens are better for sensitive skin since the compounds in chemical sunscreens can cause contact dermatitis.
Titanium dioxide primarily blocks UVB radiation, unlike zinc oxide, which blocks both UVB and UVA radiation (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology; Skin Cancer Foundation). Titanium dioxide is typically coated with aluminum hydroxide to prevent it from clumping, thus allowing for an easier application. Aluminum hydroxide doesn’t permeate the skin, but instead forms a refractive layer to reflect UV rays.
There has been some concern regarding mineral sunscreens and cancer due to the minerals’ absorption into the skin; however, there is little evidence to support this. Studies using electron microscopy have shown very little penetration of the first layer of skin with mineral sunscreens, so this shouldn’t cause cancer (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology).
Thermus thermophilus is a microorganism typically found deep in the waters of the Gulf of California. Typically, organisms within the Thermus genus are known for their ability to live in high temperature, low-oxygen, acidic or basic environments. Thermus thermophilus is particularly adaptive and can live in a variety of conditions due to a unique mixture of proteins, organelles, and DNA (Clinics in Dermatology).
Initial studies have shown Thermus thermophilus ferment (TTF) to have a number of biological activities. Its actions include superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide detoxification as well as GOP activity. TTF also reduces UVA-induced DNA damage, and, impressively enough, will increase its activity in proportion to increased levels of stress (Clinics in Dermatology).
This probiotic bacteria aids microflora in the GI tract, and, according to this 2009 patent, could also work as a DNA-repairing agent when applied topically to the skin.
One double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study tested a placebo cream against a cream containing a 10% bacterial extract. After 29 days, the bacterial cream decreased skin sensitivity (possibly by reducing neuronal activity and accessibility) and increased the skin’s barrier function. There was no significant increase in skin hydration (Experimental Dermatology). While there’s little research regarding this extract, the initial data is promising.
Plankton extract contains photolyase, which undoes DNA damage in cells and can prevent cell death caused by UV exposure. Typically, photolyase works better when it is delivered through liposome encapsulation (The New Science of Perfect Skin; Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences).
Luckily, the plankton extract is paired with lecithin, a liposome that’s great at delivering other ingredients into the skin with minimal irritation (Skin Pharmacology). Lecithin is a combination of amino acids and choline that is found naturally in the liver, egg yolk, and wheat germ and can also be made synthetically from soy (Huntingdon College of Health Sciences). With these two paired together, they can help prevent damage from environmental exposure.