Helioplex™ is a type of sun protection that provides broad spectrum protection for the skin. It is the first sun protection technology to effectively combine the ingredients avobenzone and oxybenzone for maximum ultraviolet light protection. The technology guards the skin from both ultraviolet A(UVA)and ultraviolet B(UVB) sun rays.
Neutrogena® developed the Helioplex™ technology in 2005. It was first introduced in the company’s line of Ultra Sheer® Sunblocks with SPF 55. Helioplex™ was engineered to provide stabilization to the sunscreen ingredients in order to prevent the sun from breaking down their effectiveness.
Sunscreen products are typically marketed due to the degree of Sun Protection Factor (SPF) they offer. SPF refers to the amount of protection from the sun’s UVB rays only. UVB rays are the sun’s ultraviolet rays that can produce short-term sunburns. Until the invention of Helioplex™, the majority of sun protection products only offered UVB protection.
UVA rays produce milder, more long-term effects than UVB rays and are thought to contribute to the aging of skin. Sunscreen ingredients that absorb UVA rays tend to disintegrate shortly after being exposed to the sun, so traditional sun protection products could not be advertised as offering adequate UVA protection. Researchers discovered if both UVA and UVB absorbing properties were combined with the stabilizing solvent Hallbrite TQ, all the chemicals maintained their effectiveness.
Helioplex™ is primarily composed of the chemicals avobenzone and oxybenzone. Avobenzone, also referred to as Parsol 1789, can absorb UVA rays to prevent them from penetrating the skin’s surface. On its own, avobenzone can only offer brief protection because it is chemically unstable when exposed to ultraviolet light.
For the most broad spectrum sun protection, oxybenzone is added to provide UVB protection. Oxybenzone is most effective at absorbing UVB sun rays, but can also offer minimal UVA protection. When avobenzone and oxybenzone are joined, they can provide all-around skin protection; however, without an added chemical stabilizer, the effectiveness will not last.
The main trademarked formula in Helioplex™ is the stabilizing property that extends the sun protection abilities of the avobenzone and oxybenzone. Once the stabilizing property is added to the avobenzone and oxybenzone, the two ingredients work together better than if each ingredient was added to skin separately. The properties in the technology absorb both types of ultraviolet sun rays, then alter the rays into safe light rays.
Although sunscreens with Helioplex™ technology can last longer than other sun protection products, they can lose their protection ability. The ingredients are not completely waterproof, so the sunscreen may need to be periodically reapplied if sweat or water is present on the skin’s surface. The sunscreen can also disintegrate over time.