Customers want to know. Do SeneGence products have SPF?
No, but there is sun protection!! SeneGence refers to the sun protection in their products as a mechanical shield, not SPF. Legally, for products to include a SPF rating they must be independently tested (more info here https://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/buyingusingmedicinesafely/understandingover-the-countermedicines/ucm258468.htm#Q3_What_does_the_SPF).
By not claiming a SPF rating SeneGence has gotten around this requirement while still providing sun protection. Tricky! And, I love it!!
Just out of curiosity, IS there a definition of mechanical shield? Turns out, No. But, lets think about it for second…
Merriam Webster defines mechanical as:
- working or produced by machines or machinery (adjective)
- the working parts of a machine, especially a car (noun)
Merriam Webster defines shield as:
- one that protects or defends
- a device or part that serves as a protective cover or barrier
So, for the purposes of this blog and for the sake of simplicity, let’s combine the definition of shield and the definition of mechanical, and say mechanical shield is “the working parts of a device that serves as a protective cover or barrier.” Sounds pretty good, right?!?
The mechanical shield is a defense against sun damage. What causes sun damage?
Damage to the skin is caused by the sun’s UV rays. UVA rays do not cause sunburn, but they can lead to skin cancer, premature aging, and darkening of the skin. UVA reaches the deep dermal layers and results in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These molecules are highly reactive causing damage to the DNA, the matrix of connective tissues and disrupting dermis integrity. UVB rays are filtered by the ozone, but are still absorbed by the dermis causing sunburn, increasing the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers after long-term exposure.
To lower these effects: 1) reduce exposure by using a physical barrier, like titanium oxide, or a shirt, or the inside of your house; 2) increase the levels of antioxidant defense to scavenge ROS (reactive oxygen species). UV radiation is the most important factor in the development of skin cancer and aging – generally this is caused by DNA oxidation. Oxidative stress occurs when the formation of ROS exceeds the antioxidant defense ability. Increasing the antioxidant defense ability is KEY to upping your sunscreen game!
Botanicals contain some of the most powerful natural antioxidants and are highly prized for their antioxidant and anti-aging effects.
Many ingredients extracted from herbs are known to combat oxidative stress. The skin’s natural sun blockers are proteins (the peptide bonds), absorbing lipids, and nucleotides. The high concentration of plant peptides protects the peptide bonds of the skin proteins. The high levels of squalene protects the skin’s sensitive lipids. Squalene is the skin’s most important protective lipid.
Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation
There are two basic categories of sunscreens used to protect your skin: physical blockers and chemical blockers. The two main ingredients in physical blockers are zinc and titanium dioxide, both of which are natural minerals that block the UV rays of the sun. These work like a physical shield on the surface to prevent absorption of the damaging sun rays. Chemical blockers typically include a combination of ingredients including oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate. Chemical blockers absorb the UV rays to protect the skin at a cellular level and need to interact with the skin cells to be effective. This presents concern of increased toxicity due to repeated exposure. The field of Nanotechnology has provided many advancements in protecting the skin of the modern man. Read more in Nanotechnology- A crash course.
Mechanical shield ingredients
The product knowledge guide states the combination of Titianium dioxide and algae extract creates a ‘full-strength mechanical shield’.
Titianium dioxide (aka TiO2 & CI#77891) is widely used in commercially available physical sunscreens and is also used by SeneGence. It works by preventing the absorption of damaging UV rays. Products like the MakeSense Original Foundation, MakeSense Advanced Anti-aging Foundation, Color Correcting Tinted Moisturizer and LipSense contain TiO2. Read more about TiO2 in May Contain Ingredient Overview.
The algae in Seneplex is Spirulina, a blue-green algae belonging to the class cyanobacterium. Research indicates Spirulina is a unique active ingredient due to the multifunctional effects, including: hydration, skin microrelief, and protection of the skin barrier function for old and young skin alike. It is considered a novel ingredient in cosmetics. The main objective of topical application of Spirulina is to combat the action free radicals have on aging. Formulations containing the Spirulina extract, due to its rich composition in amino acids and polysaccharides help regenerate the skin barrier, leading to a reduction of transepidermal water loss.
An Experimental Double-Blind Irradiation Study of a Novel Topical Product (TPF 50) Compared to Other Topical Products With DNA Repair Enzymes, Antioxidants, and Growth Factors With Sunscreens: Implications for Preventing Skin Aging and Cancer
Antioxidant defense is the (not so) secret weapon in SeneGence products!
SeneGence ingredients work together to form a physical barrier and reduce the effect of ROS, thereby creating the mechanical shield. It protects the skin by lowering the exposure to UV rays (TiO2) and increasing the level of antioxidant defense (Spirulina). Antioxidants add to the overall sun protection by helping to combat the dangerous UVA rays that damage the deeper layers of dermis and can lead to skin cancer- making the mechanical shield different that SPF alone!