Dermatologist Harold Lancer, MD has been formulating beloved skin-care products since the 1980s. Dr. Lancer’s products are unique since he has an endless pool of consumer insight to tap into while chatting with his patients daily—it doesn’t hurt that those patients have included Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian. After reflecting on consumer needs surrounding SPF, he knew what he needed to create.
Just in time for summer, Dr. Lancer is launching Mineral Sun Shield Universal Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($60). Dr. Lancer created this universally tinted physical sunscreen that defends against UVA/UVB rays while giving skin a hydrated, luminous look to fill a gap he saw in the market. With so many ingredients that are beneficial for skin beyond sun protection and a gorgeous tint, Dr. Lancer hopes people will be more inclined to apply SPF consistently.
Want to get your hands on the newest Lancer product? Well, we’ve got good news for you. The brand is hosting its iconic Friends & Family sale from May 20 to May 31. Using the code FRIENDS25, you can save 25 percent sitewide. Additionally, Lancer is gifting a free sample of Mineral Sun Shield Universal Tint with every order, and if you spend over $250, you’ll receive a full-size Radiance Awakening Mask Intense, so stock up now.
Ahead of his big launch, we talked with Dr. Lancer about what makes this tinted SPF special, blue light protection, common sunscreen mistakes and his favorite Lancer products.
On adding a second sunscreen to the lineup…
“You know, there’s vanilla, there’s chocolate, there’s rocky road, there’s a flavor of ice cream for every consumer, and you can never explain taste. So the purpose is to get people to understand the value of the product and please the tastes of different consumers. So you have the Sheer Fluid Sun Shield ($60), which is a fabulous product. It is incredibly popular, especially in the entertainment world.
Then I thought about how there’s a need for a secondary product that has a tint to it that is mostly mineral-based. The mineral-based part of it is so that we can eliminate some of the chemical components of sunscreens. It’s far more broad spectrum in terms of this new entity, which has gotten attention in the public having to do with high energy visible light. So this high energy visible light issue, which has come up in the last four to six years, is not only UVA/UVB but also the visible and infrared spectrums of light, and that requires physical blocking agents. Zinc oxide happens to be the main one that we use. So it has to do with the need and necessity of a new product addition and the consumer taste and desire for consumption.”
On what sets Mineral Sun Shield Universal Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen apart from other tinted sunscreens on the market…
“Every single one of the Lancer products is inspired by the fact that I’m 100 percent a clinician, and I see patients all day, and patients bring interests to me in terms of niches that need to be filled. So every single Lancer SKU is original chemistry from scratch, it might actually cost $50,000 to $100,000 to develop a single SKU, and the same is true for the sunscreen.
I said to the candidates, ‘listen, this high energy visible light and infrared light is a huge issue now because it shows up in the medical literature, and so the consumer is interested in it. I want you to go and create a physical sunblock. Remove all the chemicals.’ This is how it works here. I come up with an idea, and then I go to a group of pharmaceutical chemists, and they are challenged with what I tell them that I need to develop, and then they need to figure it out. So I say ‘look, there’s a need for a new tinted physical reflective basically non-chemical sunscreen that has certain antioxidant qualities, certain anti-inflammatory qualities and perhaps some immune-stimulating.”
On the ingredients that make this sunscreen unique…
“Pink rock rose is a flower. I said to them, ‘go out there and find something in the botanical world that will perhaps stimulate immune defense in the skin,’ and that’s what the pink rock rose is for. The rice soy complex is purely anti-inflammatory and non-immunogenic. Then the ginger root, ginger is one of my favorite foods, is anti-inflammatory.”
On his favorite thing about the new sunscreen…
“The best thing about it is that it’s consumer-friendly. My experience is that people are non-compliant. They don’t follow instructions. They don’t do what they’re supposed to do, and that’s what leads to illness. The same thing is true with sunscreen. The majority, I fear, out of 7.5 billion people is that probably less than one percent use sunscreen. Of the ones that use sunscreen, hardly any of them use it properly. Sunscreen needs to be used on naked skin freshly washed because if we have anything between the sunscreen and the skin, it does not function well. This product is so consumer-friendly to use, and it’s tinted. With repetition on a daily basis, it’s a charm.”
On the need for blue light protection…
“Blue light refers to that high energy, visible light. It turns out that all light influences negatively in biology, so blue light is actually the lay term for either computer screen generated light, fluorescent lights, LED lights. I always get patients coming in wanting to fix their melasma, their discoloration and I say ‘well, you know, it’s not just sunlight.’ If you are somewhere and you don’t require a flashlight to tell you where to go, there’s enough light to stimulate the retina. And if you were stimulating the retina and vision, there’s enough light to stimulate melanin in the skin. So blue light refers to visible light that’s damaging to tissue.”
On common sunscreen mistakes…
“Well the main thing is that people hardly ever use it, which is mistake number one. Number two is they hardly ever use it properly. You have to apply sunscreen a half hour before you go into damaging light. When you’re getting dressed in the morning, that’s when you put on sunscreen so that it’s incorporated in the stratum corneum, the skin surface layer, by the time you leave, and it works better.
You have to repetitively use it. No sunscreen is really great after two or three hours on the surface. It requires repetition, and you have to apply enough of it early enough so that it’s useful, so if you’re on the golf course or if you’re playing tennis or if you’re at the beach, and two hours into being on the beach, you put on the sunscreen you sort of missed the point.”
On the Lancer products that hold a special place in his heart…
“Well, they all do because they’re all developed from patient requests, but I have to tell you, in 1983, when I developed the polish, cleanse, nourish, that’s the heartbeat of this brand because it’s the reinvention of skin use products altogether. In the 1950s there was always some sort of crappy cleanser, some sort of crappy toner to augment the crappy cleanser. There was very little exfoliation and then some sort of slimy moisturizer. That has been followed for the most part in most pop product brands, it’s always cleanse, tone and put on some moisturizer and that’s totally wrong. That’s not skin biology. Skin biology requires polish, rinse, cleanse, rinse, and then active supply the vitamin C, the hyaluronic acid, the retinol, the glycolics, the beta hydroxys, the alpha hydroxys and then you put on some sort of sealant protective nourishment, so they’re all my favorites.
But I think, by far and away, two products always come up on top. One of them is the polish method ($89). Number two is the Dani product ($95), which is a protective serum that has nutrients in it, plus it has a camouflage component that blends with every ethnicity, so you don’t have to use tons of makeup. So those are the two big hits.”
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