Keeping cool, looking good

Hitting many parts of the world, the summer heatwave calls for cooling skin protection, otherwise wrinkles can easily appear on your face. Gauged by Thermal Protection Factor (TPF), this new concept of skin protection is the result of a decade of research on heat-induced skin damage.

Sulwhasoo hanbang researcher, Park Sung-il.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to protection against skin-burning UVB rays, whereas there is no international standard for measuring UVA protection, which can be indicated by a sunscreen's PA, IPD or PPD. UVA rays cause premature skin ageing, and using sunscreen can thus help delay wrinkles. In this context, they are considered anti-ageing skincare.

The TPF concept takes anti-ageing skincare to the next level, and Renodigm EX Dual Care Cream, the first product with a TPF as well as SPF and PA, was recently launched in Thailand.

The breakthrough follows a collaboration between Seoul National University's Department of Dermatology and cosmetic brand Sulwhasoo, known for making herbal skincare based on hanbang (Korean traditional medicine).

"Sun exposure increases the skin's surface temperature and remaining high, it triggers an internal 'heat alarm' leading to skin inflammation and ageing. The basis for developing a product with thermal protection is to block the external heat and treat the internal heat in order to achieve a balance by which the skin temperature remains lower than body temperature," explained Sulwhasoo hanbang researcher Park Sung-il .

The skin surface temperature is normally at 31-36C, and above 37C induces thermal skin-ageing.

The Korean research also demonstrated that 15 minutes of midday sunlight can hike skin temperature to above 40C. This switches on the component TRPV-1, referred to as the heat alarm, and the increasing sensitivity to heat results in skin damage.

Sunlight consists of visible light, UV radiation and infrared or heat radiation. Infrared can do deeper damage in reducing collagen production while increasing matrix metalloproteinase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin fibres.

"Besides UV, we also need to block infrared and other heat sources encountered every day. However, it's better to prevent the increase in skin temperature in the first place rather than cool down the skin, and an age-defying approach is to enhance the skin's resistance to heat with herbal ingredients," said Sulwhasoo's scientist.

Renodigm contains hinoki cypress polysaccharide, prunus mume fruit and hedyotis extracts as well as Sulwhasoo's signature anti-ageing ingredient, Korean red ginseng saponin. The prunus mume extract is obtained by a time-honoured poje method, by steaming unripe green prunus mume until the fruits turn black.

The cream is labelled with SPF 30, PA++ and TPF40, which means that it provides 40% protection from external heat. It is complemented by the Trufresh Soothing Mask with prunus mume extract, as a nighttime cooling and hydrating treatment.

Park also pointed out temperature-lowering pressure points on the face: Taeyang, between the tails of the eyebrows and eyes; and Yeonghyang, underneath the nostrils. It is believed that acupressure on these two points can cool down the skin.

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Writer: Noko  
Position: Reporter