Evolving Trends and Hottest Ingredients in Sun Protection
As consumers are shifting to healthier lifestyles what is inside the products is becoming more important. More than ever before, consumers are questioning the ingredients and their sources and this is having an impact on the ingredients market.
Protection at the heart of consumer preferences
In a little over 50 years, the sun protection industry has evolved tremendously in both the level and type of protection and the aesthetic properties of the products, driven by consumer needs and technological advances, such as new encapsulating technologies and delivery systems. This has allowed companies to feed consumers with more attractive products that protect from a wide range of new environmental and technological stressors, from sun radiation to air and light pollution.
Change with your customers
The world is constantly changing and sun protection is no longer limited to traditional sun care products. Consumers are increasingly aware of the effects of UV radiation on skin health and appearance all year around and this is driving demand for sunscreen ingredients worldwide. Sunscreens are becoming essential ingredients in a wide range of products, from traditional sun protection and daily skin care to hair care, colour cosmetics and bath and shower products. As a result, there are an increasing number of new products and claims reaching the market. Perhaps one of the most interesting launches is Dr Russo Facial Cleanser SPF 30, with three encapsulated chemical UV filters (octocrylene, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate and avobenzone) that remain on the skin once the cleanser is washed off, providing a protective layer.
Aware of the heterogeneous landscape of consumer lifestyles, preferences and needs across the globe, sun protection manufacturers are now targeting specific market segments. Multicultural products designed for different skin tones and environmental conditions or sports products designed for active lifestyles are gaining attention among consumers. In response, companies are launching specific sunprotection lines to cover this gap in the market. For instance, the natural brand UNSUN has launched its Sun Protection For All Skin Tones that do not leave whitening residue; Happy Skin is selling in Filipinas its Catch the Sun line with moringa seed oil that protects against UV rays and pollution and Lancaster is using its new Full Light Technology that can now be found in Lancaster’s Sun Beauty line.
More from less is driving consumer purchases in sun protection
Growing consumer and industry interest in multi-functional products is driving demand for ingredients that can serve multiple functions in their formulations. In fact, according to Euromonitor Beauty Survey, the use of multifunctional ingredients is among the top ten reasons to purchase sunscreens or dedicated sun protection products worldwide.
As consumers increasingly want sun protection products that go beyond simple UV protection, there is a growing need for multifunctional ingredients and simpler formulations. Ingredients suppliers are developing ingredients able to play different roles in the formulation, from UV, light and pollution protection to anti-ageing, skin conditioning and benefiting agents.
Synthetic polymers with multiple functions and benefits such as film formers for better UV and pollution protection, as well as water and sand resistance, are expected to grow by 1,000 tonnes in the global sun protection market over 2015-2020. In this context, Covestro has launched a new waterproof polymer for transparent sun protection that shows an SPF-boosting effect. Demand for emollient esters with excellent spreadability on the skin – able to solubilise organic sun filters and disperse inorganic sunfilters, which also offer a barrier to the natural moisture loss from the skin and improve the sensorial sensation – are expected to grow globally by 2,000 tonnes in the sun protection market between 2015 and 2020. Vitamins and botanicals and especially plant extracts with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory andanti-pollution properties that boost SPF, provide UVA protection and have added skin benefits, are getting a lot of attention from both consumers and manufacturers.
Blending multifunctional actives with multiple claims is an increasingly appealing option which also fits the clean label trend. It enables manufacturers to use less ingredients which ultimately have a positive impact on the manufacturing process and the price of the product. In addition, this makes it easier for consumers to understand what is in their products.
Products that offer multiple properties are especially appealing to the youngest generations of consumers for whom pricing plays an extremely important role. Consumers that belong to Generation Z and especially those who live in developing countries are more likely to purchase sun protection products with multifunctional ingredients than those living in developed countries. These consumers with lower incomes own fewer products and thus want effective and cost-effective formulations with multifunctional ingredients that provide all-in-one integrated solution.
Percentage of consumers who buy sunscreen or dedicated sun protection products with multifunctional ingredients
In developing countries such as India, Indonesia and Brazil, where the highest growth in sun protection is expected, between 30% and 40% of consumers opt to buy sunscreen products with multifunctional ingredients, while only 10% of the consumers in Australia, Japan and South Korea consider ingredients’ multifunctionality a key product feature
Opportunities in Western European sun protection
There is an increasing demand for healthier, safer and more effective sun protection products with improved spreadability and lighter textures which offer non-whitening, broad and long lasting sun, light and water protection. This has brought some challenges that the industry has turned into opportunities for a wide range of ingredients to meet consumer needs for convenience, protection and enhanced aesthetic appeal.
In Western Europe, the emphasis on protection is driving demand for a number of sunscreen ingredients, synthetic polymers, botanicals and vitamins, while the desire for easier application and better skin feeling is fuelling demand for emollient esters and hydroalcoholic formulas which tend to be lighter and dry faster.
Sunscreen ingredients present huge opportunities for volume gains. Although there is a strong growth for ZnO in Western Europe due to the new regulation in place which approves the use of ZnO as UV filter (in its nano and non-nano form), the absolute growth in volume projected for mineral filters is still far lower than that expected for chemical filters. Homosalate is the UV filter which benefits the most from the high SPF trend due to its affordability, its high legal limits in sun protection formulations, its compatibility with other filters and its ability to dissolve and stabilise solid filters such as avobenzone.
Emollient esters with enhanced UV filter solubility and attractive skin feeling are ingredients that present big opportunities for growth. Although synthetic polymers and botanicals which also offer pollution and UVA protection offer smaller opportunities for growth in absolute volume, they are projected to grow at the fastest rate driven by the trend towards natural ingredients and the growing number of anti-pollution sunscreen product launches. Besides this, high-value ingredients such as peptides present further opportunities for growth in the forecast period (2015-2020).
What’s next for sun protection?
Global demand for multifunctional, full protection and long lasting products with increased sunscreen sensoriality, lighter touch and greater spreadability is projected to continue. The major challenges in the years to come are related to the need for safer and more effective sunscreens with fewer and more natural ingredients. Companies are now performing research to optimise the UV delivery systems and to improve the photostability, efficacy and wash-off resistance of the active ingredients with no detriment to aesthetic properties.
The new wave of products that goes beyond UV protection is expected to continue and this provides opportunities for novel ingredients with pollution and full light protection claims to enter the market. For instance, Indena has launched Vitachelox and antipollution active with botanical compounds andGreentech is marketing Soliberine with Buddleja Officinalis flowers that stimulate cellular detoxification systems and protect against blue light and IR rays.
Further studies are being conducted to look for natural alternatives to synthetic UV filters. In this context, the growing desire for natural and skin microbiome-friendly ingredients among consumers, with the recent penetration of probiotics in the skin care market, opens up opportunities for bio-derived sunscreens to reach the market in the long term. Although promising, however, the development of bio-UV filters that emulate bacterial natural sun protection mechanisms is a long and expensive road with many technical and regulatory barriers, especially in the US where SPF products are regulated as drugs and the process of getting approval for new ingredients is an overcomplicated path.