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Finding the Hot Spot

By: Briony Davies
Posted: August 28, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 4 of 5

Euromonitor International’s latest research indicates the demand for more effective sun protection is leading consumers toward sunscreens that provide both UVA, which causes discoloration and aging, and UVB, which causes burning and can lead to skin cancer. While there are an increasing number of sun blocks on the cosmetics and toiletries market that purport to shield the skin from both types of radiation, medicated sunscreens often are perceived as more effective. Mexoryl-containing sunscreens are sold over-the-counter throughout the EU and in many other sun care markets, and pose an increasing risk to sales of standard sun care. The U.S., the world’s largest sun care market, also has approved the sale of mexoryl in L’Oréal’s Athelios SX.

Standard sun protectors could up their competitiveness against this emerging threat by seeking endorsements with health charities—New Zealand’s biggest selling sun care brand is produced by the Cancer Society. Teaming up with high-profile dermatologists to create physician brands, a method commonly used in skin care, could also boost credentials. Restricting distribution to pharmacies, drugstores and specialist retailers is another tool sun care brands could use to give themselves a more efficacious image.

Eventually, a more regulated sun care market will mean all sun protection products will provide an adequate defense against UVA radiation. While leveling the playing field between medicated and standard brands, this new environment will pose its own threats. If all products are equally as efficacious, then private label becomes a real cost-effective alternative—something that could erode value gains. It could also put the power in the hands of the multinationals—those best equipped to reformulate and repackage brands to meet new laws, to the detriment of local and niche suppliers.

Add Something Extra

As consumers increasingly demand dollar value and convenience products, dual-purpose sun care that offers skin care benefits are beginning to proliferate. Added functionality also is a way for manufacturers to find a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded market and to beat back competition from other cosmetics and toiletries sectors—including skin care and color cosmetics, which are increasingly straying into sun care with self-tanning or SPF-containing products.

Antiaging and anticellulite products are probably the most common added-benefit sun care, although hydrating and skin whitening formulations also exist. This trend is being seen right across the sun care sector, with after-sun products, in particular, using extra benefits as a way of differentiating from standard moisturizers.