Delivery methods, natural ingredients drive innovation in sun care
Everybody’s got an excuse. Even though people know they should use sunscreen to prevent sunburn, signs of aging and skin cancer, they will point to various reasons for not using protection. Some cite the thick textures of some of the lotions, while others point to ingredients that they perceive to be unsafe. Ease of application also is a factor, as parents cannot seem to get squirmy kids to stand still long enough to apply the products.
Still, consumers have a general idea that they need products with a sun protection factor to deflect UVA and UVB rays — which vary by wavelength, and both of which the Centers for Disease Prevention said can affect health. Manufacturers said they are working to bring innovation to shelves that can deliver what consumers want from their sun care products, and drive year-round sales for retailers.
“Consumer data shows many consumers cite aesthetics as a main reason they don’t wear sunscreen,” Ehsan Sarrafian, senior brand manager for Los Angeles-based Neutrogena Sun Care, said. Also, people are generally busy. “Consumers want sunscreen that integrate into their everyday routine, and their family health habits.”
Neutrogena, a brand of Johnson & Johnson, recently launched two products to respond to these consumer demands. One is a lotion that can be layered under makeup that comes in two SPF versions, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50. Formulated with Helioplex technology and hyaluronic acid, the lightweight formula delivers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with a light feel for everyday wear, the company said.
Neutrogena also has introduced its line of Full Reach sunscreen sprays — Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 30, 50 and 70 and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, 45, 70 and 100+. The spray design extends the user’s reach, making application in hard-to-reach places, including their back, easier.
The Full Reach line’s innovative handle makes the spray more convenient, which is important in the popular segment of sun care sprays.
“Consumers are dissatisfied with sprays when spots are missed,” Sarrafian said. “We are constantly investing in education, and technology and innovation, to provide consumers with the best products and tools to enable them to live a sun-safe lifestyle.”
Sprays have been one of the biggest ways companies deliver on ease of use for consumers who want to make necessary sun protection touch-ups easier.
“Everyone knows they have to reapply every two hours,” said Karen Lesh, director of marketing for sun care at Edgewell Personal Care, which makes the Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic brands. “That’s hard to do if you are a busy mom on the beach chasing your kids.”
Beyond convenience, shoppers are increasingly looking for products that provide heavy-duty protection without feeling heavy, as well as sun care products that can do more than one task. These demands, which coincide with a focus on ingredients, have informed Edgewell’s latest sun care launches, which include Hawaiian Tropic Antioxidant Plus. Made with green tea extract to form an antioxidant protective layer on the skin, the product offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, the company said.
In an effort to deliver a simpler level of ingredients, Edgewell’s Banana Boat has rolled out Simply Protect, which provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection with 25% fewer ingredients.
“That claim alone catches the attention of so many consumers,” Lesh said, noting that it also is free of parabens and oxybenzone, and is available in a children’s version of the product.
Other manufacturers agree that ingredients are an important factor in sun care purchase decisions, and have been working to develop products that bring consumers’ need for natural to the fore.
“Consumers are looking for more transparency and information about what they put in and on their bodies,” Colleen Gilligan, marketing director at Salt Lake City-based Beyond Coastal, said. “Sunscreen companies need to be able to keep up with the information demand from the consumers, while continuing to push for the best ingredients and best coverage.”
Beyond Coastal’s Natural Sunscreen formula uses zinc oxide and titanium oxide to provide a natural, mineral-based, broad-spectrum protection that is water resistant up to 80 minutes, as well as hypoallergenic and nonirritating. The company’s active sunscreen formula uses octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene and avobenzone, which together create a chemical defense against UVA and UVB rays. And while those are the active ingredients, Gilligan pointed out that consumers also want to know about the inactive ingredients, which make up about 80% of a sunscreen. “You’d be surprised to see the harmful additives some companies use,” she said. Beyond Coastal’s sunscreens feature aloe vera, shea butter, vitamins C and E, green tea extract and Yerba mate.
Another trend, Gilligan said, is that consumers are concerned about the environment. They want formulas that do not harm coral reefs. Also, they are concerned about nanoparticles in sprays, so they want sunscreens that are effective with fewer spray applications. “Not only do we need to produce the best sunscreens for humans, but we need to account for the role of the sunscreens and ingredients in the world around the consumer,” Gilligan said, adding that Beyond Coastal sunscreen is rated one of the safest options on the market, according to the Environmental Working Group, which tested more than 600 sunscreens. The company’s Natural Sunscreen formula is reef-safe and cruelty-free.
Beyond products with a focus on natural ingredients, another segment that is gaining popularity is water- and sweat-resistant sunscreens for active people. This segment also helps grow the category to a year-round purchase, as people who participate in outdoor activities in the winter are learning they should use sunscreen. According to IMPACT Melanoma, a Concord, Mass.-based nonprofit, in its 2016 survey of 1,016 participants, 86% said they use sunscreen always or sometimes in the summer months. The rate dropped dramatically when the weather cooled. Among men, 12% said they always use sunscreen in the fall and 20% use sunscreen in the winter, while the rate remained the same at 13% for women in the fall and winter.
The survey results highlighted opportunities to increase sunscreen usage in what was once considered the off-season. “From a consumer trends standpoint, you are seeing longer use throughout the year,” David Kulow, president of Newport, N.H.- based All Terrain, said. The trend has regional differences. In the South, he said, retailers keep the sun care section stocked throughout the year, and the Northeast is beginning to follow that merchandising strategy. “What you’re starting to see is even though it’s a smaller set, they keep sunscreen year-round.”
All Terrain offers AquaSport, TerraSport and KidSport sunscreen lotions, sprays and face sticks. Among the newer products is KidSport SPF 45 Sunscreen Lotion and AquaSport SPF 45 Sunscreen Lotion. The products provide broad-spectrum protection — with a combination of non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — and are oxybenzone and paraben-free.
“There is rising demand for natural,” Kulow said. “Millennials and females especially believe natural products are safer than regular products.”
Beyond Coastal also offers its new Active Face Stick, which the company said is effective for winter, spring and summer activities. The stick easily slides into a back pocket, and the slide-on application is mess-free and easy to apply, even with gloves on. SPF 30 effectively blocks 97% of sunburn-causing rays, while avobenzone blocks UVA rays. The face stick nourishes skin with coconut oil, beeswax and Yerba mate, and acts as a wind chap to keep
Looking forward in the category, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a final rule for the Sunscreen Innovation Act. According to the FDA website, the SIA was enacted on Nov. 26, 2014 “to provide an alternative process for the review of safety and effectiveness of nonprescription sunscreen active ingredients.” The FDA has not approved a new active ingredient in sunscreen since 1999, and the SIA will establish a process for the review and approval of over-the-counter sunscreens. The final sunscreen monograph — a sort of rule book of accepted ingredients — is scheduled to be issued in November 2019.
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