Many products protect skin from the sun, but one new sunscreen aims to go where Mom always said sunscreen shouldn't: the eyes.
SkinCeuticals recently released Physical Eye UV Defense, a sunscreen developed to protect the eyelid and skin around the eyes. With a mineral and wax base, the product is liquid-resistant, clinging to skin surfaces without running into the eyes. According to experts, the eye region it protects occupies only about 1% of human skin but accounts for 5% to 10% of all skin cancers.
"UV radiation damages skin and particularly the thin, delicate skin around the eyelid," said Lisa Chipps, a Beverly Hills dermatologist and spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation who is not connected to the sunscreen product. The majority of all eyelid cancers are basal cell carcinomas, a mostly non-life-threatening condition that can create deformations and require surgery.
Chipps said the lower eyelid is particularly susceptible to harmful rays from the sun, as the eyebrow does not protect that area and people do not apply sunscreen there often.
"Many people definitely neglect applying sunscreen to the skin around their eyes because it's not comfortable, but it's important to remember to protect the skin around the eyes," Chipps said. To protect the area, she suggested wearing UVA and UVB protective sunglasses that sit close to the eyes and also using SPF 30 or higher sunscreens that are water-resistant; those won't run into the eyes as easily.
She added that there is an "emerging market" for eye-region sunscreens. Several companies, including Shiseido and Supergoop!, are marketing eye creams that include UV-protective substances.
Although many sunscreens have a water base that migrates with sweat, the new SkinCeuticals product has a base of oils and waxes that will resist running. In addition, the SPF 50 sunscreen contains the natural minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect from UV rays, so if a little cream gets into the eyes, it is not harmful.
"There is this need, and with a little bit of education it may become a new category and way to take care of the eye," said Marc Toulemonde, global general manager for SkinCeuticals.
The cream costs $30 per 10-milliliter bottle online.