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Demand Grows for Sun Care Options

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: December 3, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Mike Starch: Yes. Growing consumer awareness of the damaging effects of sun exposure has prompted manufacturers to expand their range of sun care products. I think demand for sun protection solutions is likely to remain strong for the foreseeable future.

GCI: What are the challenges to creating sun care products that provide both the UVA and UVB protections? Is there any room on store shelves for products that provide only one type of protection? Are consumers going to be willing to increase their spend for products that provided protection from both?

VVR: The challenges in the making of all sun care, whether for protection against UVA or UVB, lies in the testing. Manufacturers will need to do both in vitro studies—a laboratory procedure that does need expertise to perform, and in vivo studies on a minimum of 20–30 patients—an even more detailed study that needs not just expertise but patience and consistency in its performance.

Repeat studies should also be done to assure that subsequently manufactured batches of the product continue to match the claims for UVA/B protection. As sun care formulations are still not fully understood by consumers, the chances are fairly high, in our opinion, that we will still see a wide variety of products on shelves with low SPFs, UVB-only protection, gels/sprays with problematic protection, unstable formulations, etc. Consumers who have already been diagnosed with skin cancer or pre-cancers, or who have been warned about their propensity toward developing these, are already willing to increase their spend as the investment is no longer merely for aesthetic considerations but has real, life-saving implications.

JP: The two biggest challenges are preventing product degradation during use and formulating products that protect adequately while remaining affordable. Photostabilizers are both effective at reducing product degradation during use and cost-effective when used as recommended. For the foreseeable future, consumers will be able to choose from many products that provide a wide range of protection against sunburn and UVA exposure. Daily, consumers are demonstrating their willingness to spend more for products that provide higher levels of protection, and we expect that trend to continue.