POPSUGAR Australia: What is a Liposomal sunscreen?
Pablo Fernández-Peñas: A liposomal sunscreen is a sunscreen which is formulated to contain small particles called liposomes. Liposomes are used as a vehicle to carry UVA and UVB protective filters, the properties of which may enable penetration of the sunscreen into the outer layer of the skin. This may improve the duration of the protective properties of the sunscreen. Research is still proceeding, and there is still little evidence published about the properties of liposomal sunscreens.
PS: How does it work?
PF-P: Liposomes are small man-made particles that are capable of encapsulating many compounds, and are used in the administration of many pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. They are composed of lipids (fat substance) that arrange into small spherical particles and can be made to encapsulate a product, in this case UVB and UVA filters, securely inside. As they are a biologically compatible lipid particle, they can pass through the upper surface of the skin to deliver the sunscreen.
PS: What makes it different to chemical or physical sunscreen?
PF-P: Chemical sunscreens absorb UV light preventing it from being absorbed into the skin and imparting damaging effects. Physical sunscreens provide a blockage to UV-light, reflecting and scattering the light away from the skin. The main difference with the liposomal formulation is that it enables the delivery of the UVA and UVB blocking components into the upper layer of the skin potentially increasing the duration and effectiveness of the sunscreen.
PS: What are the benefits of a liposomal sunscreen?
PF-P: The main benefits of a liposomal sunscreen may be an increased duration of action. Therefore one application a day may be sufficient for effective sun protection, depending on the level of activity and water exposure, but this has to be demonstrated in clinical studies. Re-application at regular intervals after swimming, excessive sweating and towel drying is still recommended.
PS: Is it new? Why is it a relatively unknown formulation at the moment?
PF-P: Liposomal technology in the cosmetic industry has been in use for some time. However its specific application to sunscreens is a relatively new technology in a constantly evolving industry. These formulations need to undergo safety and efficacy testing to comply with specific regulations, and therefore will take some time to appear on the market.
PS: Are the any cons when it comes to liposomal sunscreens?
PF-P: Currently the manufacturing costs of this technology are higher, and still more research needs to be done to fully evaluate the new characteristics of liposomal sunscreens.