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Silk could be a sunscreen safety breakthrough

August 6, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 4 Comments
Safe sunbathing is now widely accepted as an oxymoron. Safe sunscreen may be one too. Sunscreen is, at the very least, controversial. There are scientists who believe that chemical sunscreens and even a mineral such as titanium dioxide are sensitive to sunlight, whereupon they break down and become free radicals rampaging our good cells. Because of this, some scientists think the population's increase in melanoma is actually due to using sunscreen. How ironic is that? Nonetheless, we know sun damage is bad for us too, so sunscreen is a necessary evil. Now, what if someone could make a sunscreen that is effective and safe? Antiaging potion maker, Chella, may have done just that.

Chella recently sent me its Anti-aging Formula SPF 25 UVA & UVB Morning Crema for normal to oily skin. Noticing that the active ingredient is ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, I grimaced slightly and put it to one side. Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is usually listed as octinoxate, one of the most widely used sunblocks in the industry. When octinoxate is exposed to sunlight, it is converted into a less UV absorbent form (from E-octyl-p-methoxycinnamate into a Z-octyl-p-methoxycinnamate). For this reason it is usually combined with another active. In this case, Chella has added butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, also known as avobenzone.  Some studies have demonstrated it to be absorbed by the body and secreted into urine, and is therefore not recommended to use on children or pregnant women.

Several days later, I picked up the box and squinted at it. Chella had added in something called Silasoma. What I read next was really interesting: "Silasoma is a scientifically advanced silk protein that encapsulates UVA and UVB filters so that they never touch the skin. The silk protein forms a protective barrier between even the most sensitive skin and the potentially irritating UV filters." Now you're talking!

As far as I can understand, Silasoma is polysilicone-14, which is a microcapsule that wraps itself around the sunscreen particles. If this really works, then it seems that harmful sunscreens are rendered harmless because they can't penetrate the skin. It would also mean that the avobenzone, a notorious irritant, would be less likely to bother me (there are very few sunscreens that don't make me breakout).

Chella's Morning Crema ($75, but currently deeply discounted on Amazon) also contains Matrixyl, vitamins E, A, B and C, as well as aloe vera and antioxidant posy of marigold, butcher's broom, gotu kola and green tea. I've been using this cream for the past couple of (hot and sunny in New York) days and found that the protection was good and I haven't suffered any irritation.

In the meantime, I also found Silasoma in a couple of other products, including Epicuren (who makes a cleanser I also like) Skin Mist Sunscreen ($44).

Active ingredients

Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (6.60%), butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (1.65%)


Water, cetearyl alcohol, palmitoyl oligopeptide, glyceryl polymethacrylate, glyceryl stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, polysilicone-14, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, acsorbyl palmitate, panthenol, aloe vera leaf juice, propylene glycol, polysorbate 20, trimethylopropane tricaprylate/tricaprate, dimethicone, stearic acid, cyclomethicone, sodium polyacryloyldimethyl, taurate, hydrogenated polydecene, butylene glycol, C18-22 Hydroxyalkyl hydroxypropyl guar, rosemary, gotu kola, butcher's broom, marigold, horse chestnut, licorice root, green tea, grape seed, (hybrid sunflower), allantoin, trideceth-10, disodium EDTA, etidronic acid, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance.
  • April 16, 2013

    by Dharmarao.p

    Please give me spf and cost to silasoma

  • August 11, 2009

    by admin

    Eileen, it is a moisturizer and a sunscreen. Usually I prefer to keep them separate and have more control over the ingredients - combos always seem to compromise on something. There is a post on <a href="" rel="nofollow">moisturizers with sunscreen</a> that I did a while ago.

    This one from Chella is the first that meets my criteria of good skincare ingredients and a safe sunscreen.

  • August 10, 2009

    by Eileen

    Marta, is this a sunscreen only or a moisturizer and sunscreen? Do you prefer using facial sunscreens separately from your moisturizers and if so, why? Thanks much as always, Eileen

  • August 6, 2009

    by Joon

    Yes seems like silasoma is japanese-manufactured. "Silasoma" is newly developed water dispersion of microcapsule containing oily substance. Silicone-resin-polypeptide used for wall material of the microcapsules has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties and perform similar to surfactant. By heating it, interfacial polymerization can be happened and it generates the shell-like microcapsules. This microcapsule has an excellent dispersibility in water. Besides, it improves safety by preventing direct contact to skin
    of irritant substance, also reduces odor and improves texture. It is possible to expand the range of use by changing the size of microcapsule.

    "SILASOMA MEA" and "SILASOMA ME" are encapsulated UV filters water dispersion. Untoward action of UV rays to skin has been known as a serious problem to cause not only acute damage such as tanning(sun burn and sun tan) but also DNA damage, immune suppressive action. As inveteracy reaction, it additionally can be a part of reason for wrinkle, spot, and skin cancer and also to stimulate photo aging. Since these problems have been serious more and more, the development of UV filters such as UV absorbent and UV scatter have been advanced for blocking reaches of UV rays into the skin. UV absorbent has effective mechanism to convert the absorbed energy from UV rays into heat and release it. On the other hand, problems related to safety, heavy oiliness and peculiar odor are particularly concerned, so there are many cases that people avoid to use. In order to solve these problems, we have recently developed "SILASOMA MEA" and "SILASOMA ME" by using our original encapsulation technology.
    "SILASOMA MEA" and "SILASOMA ME" are 60% a.m. encapsulated UV filters water dispersion. The core material rate of microcapsule is 90% and average particle size is approximately 2 micrometer. "SILASOMA MEA "and "SILASOMA ME" absolutely contribute to reduce the amount of surfactant when we formulate UV filters for sun care products. Additionally, it provides comfortable texture such as smooth and light afterfeeling.

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