“Tinosorb is interesting because it blocks a very broad spectrum,” says Lionel De Benetti, head of research and development for Clarins, which, like several other brands, uses Tinosorb in its European sun-care products. Because of Tinosorb’s ability to shield against such a wide range of the light spectrum, says De Benetti, products that contain it “need to use less of the more targeted filters.” Fewer ingredients, he says, result in a more pleasant texture.
Another sunscreen ingredient still making news is the L’Oréal-patented molecule Mexoryl, which protects skin from short-range UVA. In 2006 the company was able to get one product containing Mexoryl greenlighted by the FDA, and in the years since, nine more have been given the go-ahead. But L’Oréal is still waiting for the FDA to approve Mexoryl as a stand-alone sunscreen agent, which would allow the company to more quickly bring a wider range of products containing the ingredient to the market.
Still, De Benetti says, neither Tinosorb nor Mexoryl is a silver bullet. At this time there is no single chemical that guards against the full spectrum of UV light. “We really have no ideal at this moment,” he says wistfully. “It’s a dream.”