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COPPERTONE(R) Solar Research Center Unveils Studies on Efficacy of Topical Antioxidants in Sunscreens at 2010 Annual Meeting of The American Academy of Dermatology

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, Inc., the consumer healthcare division of Merck & Co., Inc., the makers of COPPERTONE®, announced today at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology the results of studies demonstrating the efficacy of topical antioxidants in broad spectrum sunscreens.

An ex vivo study conducted by an independent researcher for the COPPERTONE® Solar Research Center revealed that using certain antioxidants in sunscreens reduced the formation of damaging free radicals by 74% in skin's outer layers exposed to UV.  This provides significant evidence that sunscreen products containing certain antioxidants can help fortify skin's natural defenses. The implications of this research are especially pertinent to those whose skin may be more vulnerable to the effects of sun exposure due to outdoor exercise activities.  

A separate independent 12-week clinical (in vivo) trial demonstrated that daily use of broad spectrum sunscreens containing specialized blends of antioxidants found in select products in the 2010 COPPERTONE® sunscreen line can provide additional skin health benefits beyond UV protection.

"Emerging research shows that Vitamin E, one of the primary antioxidants in the sunscreen we tested, is a key ingredient for preserving skin's barrier function and for helping to maintain skin health," said Robert Bianchini, PhD, Vice President of Research and Development at the COPPERTONE® Solar Research Center. "Since Vitamin E may be lost from the skin during environmental stress, such as outdoor exercise, using a broad spectrum sunscreen with antioxidants proven to help restore these elements is important."

Not All Antioxidants Are Equal Under UV Light

Ex vivo studies evaluated the overall effectiveness of topical antioxidants contained in the sunscreens for reducing free radical formation caused by sun exposure.  Research has shown that not all topical antioxidants are equal under UV conditions.  In fact, UV radiation may cause an unexpected reaction with certain topical antioxidants — including some plant extracts — when exposed to sunlight, transforming them into damaging pro-oxidants.  For that reason, the researchers tested the antioxidant ingredients used in the sunscreens, COPPERTONE SPORT® with Replenishing Antioxidants and COPPERTONE KIDS® with Protective Vitamins, to ensure they continue to function properly in conditions similar to "real-world" sunscreen use.

The 12-week clinical trial showed that the daily use of sunscreen lotions with the appropriate antioxidants can also provide significant cosmetic benefits. In participants who began the study with signs of mild to moderate photodamage, clinical evaluators saw measurable improvement in a number of parameters that contribute to the cosmetic signs of premature aging, including visible dryness, mottled skin tone, laxity, roughness, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

"Topical antioxidants are rapidly emerging as a breakthrough innovation in suncare," added Dr. Bianchini. "The results of our research demonstrate that there are many skin health benefits and applications to adding antioxidants to a sunscreen formula — and we will continue to explore advancements in how this technology can be used with sun protection to help maintain overall skin health."


COPPERTONE SPORT® and COPPERTONE KIDS® are registered trademarks of Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, Inc., the consumer healthcare division of Merck & Co., Inc.

About Schering-Plough Consumer HealthCare Products, Inc., the consumer healthcare division of Merck & Co., Inc.

Today's Merck is working to help the world be well. Schering-Plough Consumer HealthCare Products, Inc. is the over-the-counter division of Merck. Each day, millions count on one or more of our industry-leading brands that help prevent or treat various common conditions. These include household names such as CLARITIN for allergies, COPPERTONE for sun care, DR. SCHOLL'S for foot care, and many more. Merck. Be well. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period, due to, among other things, the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and pending legislation that could affect the pharmaceutical industry; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health policies in the U.S. and internationally and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck's 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (

SOURCE Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, Inc.

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SOURCE Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, Inc.
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