Ingredients Trends and Innovation in Sun Protection: Sunscreens

The sunscreen market has evolved driven by consumer needs and technological advances. Sunscreen formulations have moved beyond skin cancer and sunburn prevention to products that also protect against air and light pollution and slow skin ageing. In addition, UV protection is now an essential function across all beauty categories. Protection is at the heart of consumer’s preferences and this will bring opportunities for a number of sunscreen ingredients over the next few years.


The evolution of sun protection

The sun protection industry has evolved tremendously in the latest 50 years 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, novel ingredients and delivery systems.  The first commercial sunscreens in the market were very different to the ones available today, they were very greasy and sticky, obviously non-water resistant and they only offer very low protection from UVB rays which are the ones linked to sunburn and skin cancer, but not UVA protection.


Growing demand for sunscreen ingredients in the beauty industry

Sunscreens are increasingly used in beauty products. In 2016, the global sunscreen ingredients market reached 44,000 tonnes with volumes forecast a CAGR of 4% over 2016-2021. Geographically, North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America dominate the global market for sunscreen ingredients within the beauty and personal care industry, together accounting for 87% of global consumption in 2016.  

Asia Pacific was the largest market in 2016 with 12,000 tonnes, and is expected to increase its market share by 3% as highly mature markets in Western Europe and North America are losing share. Rising populations, disposable incomes and greater awareness are driving this trend.

Skin care dominates sunscreen in Asia Pacific

Sun care is considered the largest product category for sunscreen ingredients in all major markets with the exception of Asia Pacific, a more fragmented market where sunscreens find extensive use in skin care.  

In addition to the importance of a pale skin, hot weather and pollution concerns are driving demand for daily sunscreen protection in Asia Pacific, with 57% of the sunscreen ingredients being used in skin care products in 2016.


Strongest growth for facial moisturisers and anti-agers

Skin care remains the key revenue driver in beauty, with global sales exceeding USD$110 billion in 2016 and forecast a value CAGR of 6% by 2021. According to Euromonitor International’s beauty and personal care forecast model, facial moisturisers and anti-agers are the fastest growing categories, each with absolute value growth of around USD$5 billion between 2016 and 2021, while sun protection is expected to gain around USD$1.3 billion over the same period.