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Sun Protection Report

Karen A. Newman

Today’s educated consumers are getting a handle on UV protection and what it can mean to their health, and that means increased sales for personal care marketers. Sun care holds a 5.5% share of the $253 billion global personal care market—with protection products exceeding $820 million, according to Euromonitor. The research organization called the category extremely dynamic, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. Here’s a roundup of recent sun protection activity.

Sunscreen Approved

In July, the FDA approved Anthelios SX, a sunscreen from L’Oréal. The over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen protects against UVB and UVA rays, with a sun protection factor of 15. It contains a combination of three active ingredients, including a new molecular entity called ecamsule, which has been marketed in Europe and Canada as Mexoryl SX since 1993. The other active ingredients are avobenzone and octocrylene.

Safety and efficacy data for Anthelios SX included information from 28 studies in more than 2,500 patients, ranging in age from six months to 65 and older, according to the FDA. In addition, the contribution of each of the active ingredients to sun protection was studied. The product will be distributed by LaRoche-Posay.

Bathe On!

In March, Aquea Scientific Corporation announced its Aquea Delivery System, designed to enable cosmeceutical additives to be deposited onto the skin or hair via wash, shampoo and other products. Aquea SPF has been commercialized in Freeze 24-7’s

Ice Shield, the first wash-on UVA/UVB protection in a facial cleanser. The product has been awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation seal of approval as an effective aid in the prevention of sun-induced damage to the skin.

No Sweat

A major challenge for sunscreen marketers has long been how to get products to hold up against water and perspiration. In October, Eastman Chemical Company introduced Eastman AQ 38S polymer to improve the water-resistance of sunscreens. A water-dispersible polymer, it also has enhanced film-formation properties that contribute to even skin coverage in lotion and pump-spray formulations. Eastman reports that recently completed in vitro and in vivo tests compared the performance of prototype lotion and pump-spray sunscreens that included Eastman AQ 38S against leading commercial SPF 30 products. As measured by SPF retention, the prototypes outperformed the commercial formulations, according to the company.

“These results lay a solid foundation for the development of extremely effective, next-generation sunscreens,” said Jim McCaulley, PhD, global market development manager, personal care ingredients at Eastman. “Formulating with Eastman AQ 38S contributes to uniform film coverage with increased water resistance for extended SPF protection.” In addition, both the prototype lotion and milk-lotion spray formulated with Eastman AQ38S have a noticeably nongreasy feel, an important product attribute for brand owners, according to McCaulley.

Sunburn Repair

Researchers at the University of Bath in England announced results of laboratory tests of a new sunscreen ingredient that actively repairs sunburned skin and helps prevent the onset of skin cancer.

According to a press release, while conventional sunscreen lotions act as filters for UVA and UVB light, the new ingredient releases an active ingredient that “mops up” free iron that is released when the skin burns, reducing inflammation and pain of sunburn and preventing the build up of harmful sunlight-generated free radicals.

They expect to test on human volunteers in the next two to three years.

Nanotechnology Examined

The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) released a scientific white paper earlier this year on the application of nanotechnology in personal care products, including cosmetics and certain OTC drug products, specifically sunscreens. The report addresses the issue of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide used in nanoparticle form in sunscreens.

“This report directly addresses the science behind the use of nanoparticles in personal care products,” said John Bailey, PhD, executive vice president of science at CTFA. “The science strongly indicates that nanoparticles applied topically to the skin in lotions or creams are safe and provide clear benefits to consumers.”

In a press release announcing the report, the CTFA said sunscreens, some of which utilize sun-protecting nanoparticles that help prevent skin cancer, are required to go through an extensive FDA review and approval process to demonstrate they are safe and effective. The nanoparticles in sunscreens—titanium dioxide and zinc oxide—are established, efficacious sunscreen filters that have been on the market for decades. In 1996, FDA concluded that smaller, micronized particles of titanium dioxide are not new substances and that there is no evidence demonstrating that these micronized particles are unsafe.

Nanosized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide—unlike the larger particle size ingredients—form a transparent rather than a thick, white coating, which leads to greater consumer acceptance and use of the products. The nanosize of the particles also enables them to better reflect and scatter certain harmful UV rays, according to the CTFA release.

“The nanoparticles used in sunscreens provide important and unique sun-protection benefits, helping reduce the risk of skin cancer,” Bailey said. “These sunscreen ingredients have been used safely for many years, and have been evaluated and approved by the FDA and independent scientists. They are transparent and aesthetically pleasing and, therefore, encourage greater consumer use.”

The report can be found at In addition to the report, CTFA also filed comprehensive comments with the FDA on the science and regulation of nanoparticles in personal care products.

EC Label Reform

Weaknesses in the way sunscreen products are labeled, according to the European Commission, led the group to launch an initiative to address the system. Following a public consultation, the Commission will issue a recommendation to ensure that the industry, as of 2007, utilizes a standardized, simple and understandable labeling method for sunscreen products.

Components of the new labeling act include indication of UVA protection in a uniform way based on standardized testing methods; the disappearance of claims that give the impression of total protection, including use of the term “sunblocker;” and clear and understandable warnings and use instructions on how to correctly use the sunscreen product.

In a press release, Gunter Verheugen, commission vice president, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said, “The current situation is untenable. The best way forward is a recommendation to which the industry commits to label sunscreen products properly. This will give consumers clear and coherent information without creating unnecessary red-tape for the industry.”

Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, responsible for health and consumer protection, was quoted as saying, “Consumers must be made fully aware that no sunscreen product can provide 100% protection against hazardous UV radiation. There are serious health risks, such as skin cancer, linked to insufficient protection from the sun. EU citizens need to be fully informed about what sunscreens will and will not do for them.” The Clinical Sciences department at RSSL Pharma announced it will support new recommendations for sunscreen testing and labeling. The company carries out SPF testing for a number of clients, and reports that the new recommendations are more definitive, easier to follow and, crucially, will make it simpler for consumers to choose and apply the right product for their own needs.

“Under the new recommendations, there is a big change in the way we report the SPF of a product,” says Valerie Hart, head of clinical sciences at RSSL Pharma. “We previously reported the mean SPF results, but now we shall report the lowest of the confidence intervals. In addition products will be classified according to new categories of ‘low’, ‘medium,’ ‘high’ and ‘very high’ in the same way that the FDA recommends for labeling of this type of product.”

RSSL Pharma supports the significant change requiring claims such as “all-day protection” and “total sunblock” no longer be made on the product labels. Also no longer allowed are statements implying no need to re-apply the product at regular intervals.


Sunscreens are at the root of the protective factor, and new technologies are contributing to improved esthetics. Value-added ingredients present new opportunities for brand marketers to expand their current sun offerings and add quality, safety and value for consumers.

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