Paolo U. Giacomoni received a Laurea in Atomic Physics from the University of Milan and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Paris. He was a teacher at the University of Paris, and was a fellow scientist at University of California, San Diego, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum in Heidelberg. He is Executive Director-R&D, at Clinique Laboratories, Inc. in Melville, NY. He discovered that UV radiation elicits heat shock response and cell blebbing, and impairs energy metabolism in the epidermis. He worked on the pro-oxidative behavior of UVA radiation and discovered that DNA damage by UVA requires oxygen and transition metals. As consequence, he proposed the now widely accepted micro-inflammatory model of skin aging and his laboratory was one of the twelve laboratories that created the European Union-sponsored Network on Molecular Gerontology. He was among the founders of the European Society for Photobiology and was elected Secretary of the Society for two successive two-year terms.
Aging, industry and policies: the cosmetic point of view
The reverse pyramid of ages in western populations has generated a market for products directed to accompany the aging baby-boomers. Besides geronto-medicine, a vast sector of consumers orient themselves towards nutritionals, sports, clothing, fashion, and cosmetics designed to meet the needs of the graying population. Skin aging is characterized by wrinkling, sagging, thinning and discoloration. The micro-inflammatory model of skin aging predicts the first three phenomena, and fails to predict the fourth one. Aging is defined as the accumulation of damages, and treatments able to reduce the rate of accumulation of damages can be thought of as anti-aging treatments. Strategies to avoid excessive exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation are but one example of successful treatments to slow down the rate of accumulation of damages in the skin and therefore to fight skin aging. Sunscreens are a tool used against ultraviolet radiation. The industry produces sunscreens designed and selected to be photo-stable with high molar extinction coefficients, non photo-toxic, non-allergising, odorless, and colorless. The alliance between industry and science has fostered great progress in photobiology. Legislation has set rules which differ in different parts of the globe: there are sunscreens accepted in the EU which are not allowed in the US, sunscreens accepted in the US which are forbidden in Europe. In Japan, the Ministry of Health requires that new products such as preservatives or sunscreens be tested on animals, whereas in Europe legislation imposes a ban on animal testing for cosmetics. Paradoxically, testing to assess safety in humans will have to be performed with alternative methods (i.e. not on animals) whereas new molecules will have to be tested on animals to be proven environmentally friendly. The cosmetic industry is complying with the regulatory requirements.