Excessive exposure to harmful UV rays leads to premature aging of the skin, photoallergies, malignant melanomas and skin cancers. More recently, the meteoric rise in skin cancer accompanied by evidence linking UVA rays to higher incidences of skin cancers has led to the introduction of new and improved UV filters. With the spiraling statistics in the proliferation of skin cancer, UV filters for protection are now of paramount importance more than ever before.
The regulatory status of currently approved UV filters and newly introduced UV filters are reviewed in this article.
Ancient Egyptians once used inorganic material such as clay and calcite powder to refl ect damaging UV rays in their sun care regimens. Avoiding the sun was commonplace until early in the last century—Coco Chanel, after returning to high society France with a tan from her vacation, inspired a wave of outdoor seekers to tan their skin by basking in the sun. This occasion is credited as the inspiration for the launch of the modern UV filter industry, primarily to prevent the sun burning of individuals and to promote safe and healthy tanning. Salicylates, cinnamates and PABA derivatives have been used since the 1930s.
The death rate in the United States from melanoma has been growing by approximately 4 percent per year. The American Cancer Society reports there are about 1.5 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year, resulting in more than 10,000 skin cancer deaths.4 Two types of UV radiation, UVA and UVB, are involved in the observed rise of skin cancer. UVC radiation is fi ltered by the stratospheric ozone layer. For the complete article, click on "Purchase this article."