Saving Face with Mineral Makeup

Mineral makeup - a sun-safe supplement to winter protection.

New York, NY (October 28, 2008) - The need to protect the face during the winter is critical. The face is one of the only body parts that receive year-round sun exposure and often the site of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma skin cancers.

"Most people are unaware of the dangers of UV rays in the wintertime and often sun-protection is overlooked," says Dr. Perry Robins, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. "But the good news is that today there are more options than ever for consumers to incorporate sun protection in their daily routine."

"Although the temperature may be frigid and sunlight is less intense, the amount of the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays reaching the surface of the earth remains fairly constant and very strong throughout the year. During the winter months, snow reflects about 80 percent of the UV light from the sun, further increasing the risk for skin cancer and premature aging during the winter months. And skiing sites and winter resorts tend to be located at high altitude, where UV radiation is stronger. This means the damage to skin, especially the face, could be greater for some people in the winter than in the summer."

Face-Saving Options

In addition to traditional sunscreens, there is a range of products that protect against the sun. Many daily moisturizers, makeup such as foundation and powders, lip balms, and eye creams include ingredients to filter out both UVA and UVB rays. It's also important to wear UV-blocking sunglasses and cover up with a hat, scarf, and gloves to protect areas of the skin that often are missed when applying sun protection.

Mineral Makeup As Sunscreen

Mineral makeup is a great option to layer over an SPF 15+ product during the winter to further protect the face. Mineral makeup is loose pressed powder consisting of naturally occurring inorganic materials such as bismuth oxychloride, boron nitride, mica, talc, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide - minerals. Because the natural minerals in the makeup are water resistant and "bond" to the skin, they won't wash away, smear or "melt" when you sweat or when rain or snow lands on your face - making mineral makeup ideal as a sunscreen supplement.

Titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide are the keys to the sun protection offered by such makeups. These inorganic, insoluble minerals are considered "physical sunscreens," and they work by reflecting the sun's ultraviolet radiation (UVR) away from the skin, as opposed to chemical/organic sunscreens, which absorb rather than reflect UVR.

"For incidental exposure - if you go out for a short while - mineral makeup used without a separate sunscreen is fine if the makeup's SPF is at least 15," says Diane S. Berson, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. In addition, you can touch up makeup while reapplying sunscreen during the day for further protection.

When you're planning to stay out in the sun for longer than 15 minutes, "Mineral makeup with SPF can enhance your protection if layered over a sunscreen product," explains Leslie Baumann, MD, Director of the Cosmetic Dermatology Division at Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami. The powder, applied on top of sunscreen, will probably catch any spots you may have missed.

About The Skin Cancer Foundation

The first organization in the U.S committed to educating the public and medical professionals about sun safety, The Skin Cancer Foundation is still the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research.