UV filters: What are they? Are they dangerous too?

Defended by dermatologists, attacked by some associations, content in sunscreens UV filters are suspected of being endocrine disruptors. They could also cause allergies. Some keys to understanding.

UV filters of our sunscreens are supposed to protect us, not unanimous.Flashback: in May 2011, the National Assembly passed a law prohibiting – among others – parabens and phthalates in our cosmetics and sunscreens.Meanwhile, a group of European NGOs stood a SIN list (for Immediate Substitution Required) of 22 substances accused of being endocrine disruptors. Among them are many sunscreens. What should we think? The issue is complex and the real health issues.

ORGANIC AND INORGANIC SUNSCREENS

Sunscreens are divided into two families of molecules. Organic filters (or chemical) and inorganic filters. Time, the mode of operation was simple to explain: organic UV filters absorbed when the dispersed mineral filters.

Nanotechnology has changed things and now it is more accurate to say: organic filters absorb UV rays; mineral filters not disperse nanoparticles; Nanoparticles mineral filters absorb most of it. How to know if the filters minerals (mainly titanium dioxide) are nanoparticles in my sunscreen?

A NEW MANDATORY POSTING FROM JULY 2013

The display [nano] after the name of the ingredient will be required on the list of ingredients (called INCI list) from 11 July 2013. Finally, the organic solar have two characteristics: their sunscreens are bound minerals, and still no nanoparticles.

SUNSCREENS CAN THEY CAUSE ALLERGIES?

All sunscreens are not affected by the problem of allergies. Indeed, nothing is criticized for mineral sunscreens and not nanoparticles, apart from the application unsightly white marks. The only drawback: this effect “white marks” deters some protection from excessive sun.

However, if the filters are organic, things get complicated. It criticizes some of them to be allergenic. This was the case of oxybenzone. Its use is now regulated and when a solar contains, it must be labeled “contains oxybenzone.” In fact, it is almost unused.

THE ACCUSED OCTOCRYLENE ALLERGY

Sunscreen now accused of being allergic is octocrylene. Dr. Anne Dux, Director of Scientific and Regulatory FEBEA (Federation of Enterprises in Beauty) business nuance: “The octocrylene is widely used. For several million solar products containing that are sold each year, only identifies fifty cases of allergies at all. It’s tiny! ”

If there are allergies sunscreens, therefore they are minimal, and there are rather less than for other families of cosmetics. Especially remember that allergy, zero risk does not exist when a cosmetic product is applied on the skin.

UV FILTERS ARE THEY HORMONE DISRUPTERS?

The most serious charge, for those organic filters for nanoparticles as mineral filters, to be hormone disrupters. The debate began in 2004 in Zurich.

ONLY ONE STUDY TO DATE SUPPORT

A study by a Swiss professor then made a bombshell in the cosmetic medium. Margaret Schlumpf, from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich, tested new molecules used in cosmetics and in sun. The tests were conducted in rats and mice by high dose injections. It was found that six of the tested substances disrupt the proper functioning of estrogen in rats.

This study is the only charge that day, she was often quoted and often challenged his méthodologie.Et the reaction of most manufacturers was to say: “It is obvious qu’injectés massive doses, effects are not the same!”

The speech is different for associations such as the Environmental Health Network. Its president, André Cicolella also scientific advisor to Ineris (National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks), explains: “The concept of low dose does not exist for endocrine disrupters. For some substances, the effects can be more powerful low than at high dose; especially since it can also be a cocktail between active effects.”

WHAT DOES THE MEDICAL PROFESSION?

Dr. Dux, Director of Scientific and Regulatory FEBEA (Federation of Enterprises in Beauty) business, said: “There is an environmental pollution by endocrine disruptors. The problem is that for the moment, we do not know what it is owed.This pollution it comes from food? Pesticides? Groundwater? On the other hand, study to assess the hormonal impact of a product is very difficult. Indeed, in a woman, the sex hormone levels varies in the months and even during a single day. ”

SUNSCREENS DO THEY SPEND THEIR SKIN?

The issue of hormone disruption would be partly resolved if we proved that UV filters do not pass the skin barrier and remain on the surface.

IF IT IS MINERAL FILTERS CALLED “NANO”

For nano mineral filters, studies exist, the evidence of Anne Dux, Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs FEBEA (Federation of Beauty Companies) words:
“26 studies on nano titanium dioxide have been published. 22 conclude unambiguously the absence of skin penetration.Others suggest minimal skin penetration, and conclude that no biological significance. ”

AND ORGANIC FILTERS?

They remain on the surface, the match marks. “The goal with sunscreens is that they remain on the skin surface, not that they penetrate. However, the issue of penetration can not be excluded, including the gastrointestinal tract: Children who suck their hands, groundwater pollution … We’re talking about very small amounts, but in a disastrous speech, people can lose sense of proportion, “said Dr. Dux, Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs FEBEA (Federation of Enterprises in beauty). Nevertheless, we found a small part in the urine. And the fact that the filters get that far raises questions.

But given these concerns, remains a powerful argument: the danger of sunscreens is far from proven.
No cases of endocrine disruption in humans related to sunscreens, has been identified.

SUN EXPOSURE SO REPONSABLE

According to figures from the National Cancer Institute, there were in 2010, 1570 deaths from melanoma. And the role of sunscreens can be paradoxical and even dangerous because of our behavior in the sun.

On one hand, these sunscreens are the best solution to protect against UVA, less than stay in the shade all summer. The other, by putting on sunscreen, it feels protected and it induces risk behaviors. Some people may have in fact more.

SOME SIMPLE RULES TO PROTECT

– Apply sunscreen on all exposed parts and to the tips of ears.

– Reapply every two hours.

– Stay in the shade during the hottest hours (11 am – 16 pm).

– If the filters are organic, wait 20 minutes between the time the cream and when it is exposed, the time to activate the filters are applied.

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