Industry News, Cosmetics & Persnoal Cares

Enjoying The Benefits Of Sun, In And Out

Enjoying The Benefits Of Sun, In And Out

Up to the 19th century, skin whiteness was popular within the upper classes, hinting at a noble life of leisure spent indoors, as dark skin was mostly associated with labouring in fields all day.

The trend for whiteness halted when the Industrial Revolution was born, meaning that, by the 19th century, the working classes had moved ‘into the shadows’ as they lived in cramped dwellings and worked in mines and factories. Any leisure time available was taken indoors, to avoid the smog and soot of the streets. Children developed rickets and other bone deformities. Then, sun radiation became friendlier when, in early 1900, Niels Finsen was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine after using ‘phototherapy’ to treat rickets and the world recognised that sunlight was crucial for bone development.

In the West, tanning was only made chic years later, when Madame Coco Chanel got tanned on a Mediterranean cruise and set a new precedent of beauty. To common people, this look was aspirational rather than achievable as holidays were rare, and went no further than the nearest lake, hill or seaside.

By the 1960s, the travel industry was starting to flourish as well as air travel and with the post-war recovery people soon had enough money to enjoy holidays and the glamour of sunbathing drew people attention, particularly at the sea. In the 1970s, methods of sunless tanning were introduced and by 1978, the sunbed was launched as a quick way of bronzing. The cosmetics boom of the 1980s and the accessibility of package holidays too carried the glamour of tanning through to the 1990s. Then, with movies and show business presenting new beauty and multiethnic models, women and men with toffee-coloured skin became the forefront of definitions of 21st century beauty.

The desire to have a tanned aspect became huge but, at the same time, fears surrounding the risks of tanning and long exposure to UVA and B rays grew, as that rates of malignant melanoma increased, and this became one of the most common forms of cancer. The major blame was put upon sun radiation exposure.

In recent decades, due to dramatic climate change effects and sun radiation reaching our Earth with a thinner atmospheric barrier, the sun protection industry evolved hugely in both the level and type of protection as well as in the properties of cosmetic products, driven by consumer needs and by technology innovation. This enabled companies to feed consumers with more qualitative and attractive products, able to protect from a wide range of new environmental and technology stressors, not only from sun radiation but also from air and light pollution.

By becoming increasingly aware of the different landscape of consumer lifestyles, preferences and needs across the globe, the sun care industry is now targeting specific market segments: from products designed for different skin tones or for environmental conditions, or sports products designed for active lifestyles

Growing consumer and industry interest in multi-functional products is driving demand for ingredients that can serve multiple functions in their formulations. The industry is developing ingredients able to play different roles in the formulation, from UV, light and pollution protection to anti-ageing, skin conditioning and benefiting agents.

What is next for sun care

Several botanical active ingredients have been reported effective in maintaining or improving, by various mechanisms of action, the healthy status and appearance of the skin resulting valuable allies for skin care and body care. Indena has developed a wide range of ingredients for the skin care sector with substantiated and proven activity. All Indena active ingredients are standardised and clinically tested and are used in specific formulations designed not only for their active content, but also specifically realised to best meet the needs of the skin, originating both from different external environmental conditions and individual skin peculiarities. They have been specifically tested, both for their properties and for their suitability to be formulated in different varieties of sun care formulations, including after-sun soothing. Amongst them, a selection is granted Ecocert.

Healthy tan support

Indena’s botanical actives for supporting a healthy tan are natural actives aiming at improving the natural skin structure, tone and skin moisture content. Their safety and efficacy profiles are supported by scientific literature, as well as by specific trials validating the proposed activity on the skin.

Opextan is a patented olive fruit extract, for beauty supplements and cosmetics, obtained from a selected variety of Italian olives, a single cultivar of Olea europea. Its antioxidant properties derive from its unique polyphenolic profile, containing verbacoside and hydroxytyrosol as major phenolics, as verbacoside is a strong free radical scavenger molecule present in the olive pulp, used topically to protect skin from a variety of oxidative attacks. Clinically it was validated to reduce the skin reactivity to UV damage (MED reduction).

Meriva (antioxidant and antiinflammatory): is a new formulation between a highly purified Curcuma longa (turmeric) extract and soy lecithin (Phytosome). Curcumin, in Meriva’s most bioavailable form, is suitable for topical use, where it has demonstrated in vitroto protect from UV damage and to reduce the number of sun burned cells following to UV stimulus thanks to its antioxidant and antiinflammatory activity.

Silymarin is a flavanolignans complex of silybin, silydianin and silycristin extracted from Silybum marianumfruits. Flavanolignans composing this ingredient are endowed with free radical scavenging and UV protective properties. The patented Silimarin Phytosome formulation demonstrated to be effective in anti-ageing and UV protection.

Siliphos (silybin from milk thistle in the Phytosome delivery form) is an innovative cosmetic ingredient able to exert retinoicacid-like activity, ensuring at the same time a higher level of safety and skin compatibility. Various clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of this extract as an anti-wrinkle and anti-sagging ingredient. This ingredient has shown the capacity to increase the level of melanin content and tyrosinase activity.

18 Beta Glycyhrretinic Acid, is obtained from the licorice root (Glycyhrriza glabra). It is structurally similar to cortisol and potentiates its anti-inflammatory activity by competing for cortisol metabolism. 18βglycyrrhetinic acid is suitable for soothing and healing formulations, both as free acid and in the most bioavailable Phytosome form.

Grape seed extracts

Indena has developed a range of grape seed extracts, with different chemical characterisation, effective in supporting a healthy tan.

Leucoselect and Leucoselect Phytosome are suitable both for topical and oral application. The first is enriched in lower procyanidin oligimers (OPCs), the only bioavailable procyanidins, and is one of the best-investigated grape seed extracts worldwide. It resulted effective in scavenging free radicals, while the second ingredient is for anti-ageing, UV protection and anti-erythema indications.

Enovita (Indena’s proprietary proanthocyanidin (OPCs) rich extract) too is effective in supporting a healthy tan, thanks to its efficacy as free radical scavenger in skin being a natural antioxidant and capillarotropic, made exclusively with grape seeds from white wine production.

SPF boosters

There are several plant extracts able to boost sun protection and keep our skin safe while exposed to the sun. While they are no substitutes for natural or synthetic UV filters, they can certainly boost the SPF contained in the sun care products. Among the extracts developed by Indena, some have clinically demonstrated to be effective also in this field. In addition to Silymarin Phytosome and Enovita, a further extract demonstrated to have stunning properties in this field.

Vitachelox is a three-product blend of optimised botanical compounds protecting the skin from the potential harmful effects of the pollutants. The mixture is made of green tea extract, grape seed extract, and oak wood extract. Being rich in polyphenols, these have been found to be very active in chelating heavy metals and reducing the toxicity of the various cell compartments and show a strong antioxidant and antiradical activity with a patented synergistic effect.


Soothing products, also defined as calming, emollient and lenitive, are specifically formulated to obtain a calming, assuaging or relieving effect, especially when the skin needs a rapid recovery from a discomfort of various origin, or deriving from an overexposition to the sun. In addition to Indena’s Boswellia serrataingredient mentioned earlier (clinically demonstrated to counteract photoageing and to exert some lenitive and soothing effects on physical damage of the skin), Indena provides some further botanical extracts with amazing profiles, clinically proven.

Quercevita is a patented innovative delivery form of quercetin that has demonstrated its clinical efficacy as antioxidant, free radical scavenger, soothing and anti-irritant, also thanks to its ability to modulate skin allergic-like challenges. It also has clinically shown to be beneficial in shortterm soothing skin challenges of various origin, thus qualifying as a skin ‘first aid’ relief.

Zanthalene is a lipophilic extract from the Chinese plant Zanthoxylum bungeanum. Its mechanism of action is related to the neuromuscular junction as well as chemestetic receptors for tingling sensations. It has been clinically shown to reduce discomfort during hair dyeing or modulate the itching sensations of mosquito bites or itchy skin.

Omegablue is a Vaccinium myrtillusseed oil, containing similar amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids from the omega6 and omega-3 series, combining the structural properties of omega-6 fatty acids with the inflammation modulating activity of those from the omega-3 series. It has been clinically shown to be endowed as antiirritant, lenitive, with restructuring properties on challenged skin, improving skin hydration and skin integrity and optimising skin barrier recovery.

Xilogel and Xilogel HS are two extracts that can be considered as the green alternative to hyaluronic acid. They are obtained from the seed of tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica). They have both shown, in different trials, to enhance skin hydration, improve overall skin elasticity, decrease skin roughness, increase skin density and develop a unique sensoriality, with a special silky and smooth touch.

In & out protection

Some of the Indena extracts can be used also for oral formulations, aiming at ameliorating the skin conditions before and after sun exposure. The effectiveness of these extracts has been clinically tested and they have demonstrated to be effective also from the inside, suggesting a global approach to promoting attractive skin by addressing it both internally and by topical personal care application. Threse are the main examples: the olive extract, the curcuminoids containing extract and the OPC-rich grape seed extract. One more demonstrated stunning properties:

Centevita is an extract from Centella asiatica. The leaves of this plant have been used for centuries in traditional and Asian medicine as an agent favouring the cicatrisation, thanks to its well-known active components: the triterpenic compounds asiaticoside, madecassoside, asiatic acid and madecassic acid, which are potent promoters of collagen synthesis. This ingredient also contains a fraction of polyphenols, contributing to its observed biological activity. It has been clinically proven as effective in anti-ageing, active in photoageing prevention, and on UV induced DNA protection.

The future: inspired by nature

It is well known that sunlight can damage the skin. The most dangerous threat is ultraviolet radiation (UVR), which is a proven human carcinogen. While sunscreen is a well-known and a valuable tool for protecting skin from the sun, dietary supplements can also offer support. Topical creams, yet backed by innovative formulations, may still not be able to guarantee the full protection needed and, at the same time, most people apply sunscreen less frequently, with less attention and less evenly than recommended. Many people believe that to leverage sunscreens during exposure from the sun on vacations and beach days is enough to prevent skin damage, but most sun exposure is incidental to daily living. In fact, it is estimated that for most of our lifetime sun exposure is incidental, leaving the skin vulnerable to damage for significant portions of time. Adding an edible skin care technology to the daily diet may help to reduce molecular markers of photoageing, inflammation and oxidative stress. These markers and others are directly related to skin ageing, beauty, as well as sunlight related skin diseases.

This would be a new, integrated approach to strengthen our defences against sun damage. Nowadays the approach is necessarily overall healthier and smarter as the reason stays in the middle, i.e. not too much and not too little exposure to the sun. In this sense, plants have been learning how to produce molecules able to counteract oxidation damages, including those generated by sun exposure, over millennia of evolution, and up to now represent one of our most innovative chemical laboratories.

Indena has always let itself be inspired by the botanical kingdom, which has translated into high quality standardised extracts for the beneficial plant molecules to become beneficial for human health. Note: Opextan, Meriva, Phytosome, Leucoselect, Enovita, Siliphos, Bosexil, Vitachelox, Quercevita, Zanthalene, Omegablue, Xilogel, Centevita are Registered Trademarks of Indena

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