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Sun Care in the 21st Century

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: December 9, 2009, from the December 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Hewitt: I wouldn’t describe the sunscreen market as in a state of flux due to the delay in issuing the final monograph. Flux implies movement, whereas, if anything, we have the opposite. Many manufacturers are indeed in a wait-and-see mode, holding off on new developments until there is some more certainty on what requirements the new monograph will impose. This is a difficult situation for everyone in the market, whether finished product manufacturers or raw material suppliers, and bringing forth new innovations is indeed problematic when we don’t know what level of performance is required or what regulatory restrictions may be imposed (or lifted).

GCI: What will the release of the monograph mean to both ingredient suppliers and marketers? How will it impact consumers?

Sutton: It will likely result in significant reformulation activity. This will create both opportunities and challenges for suppliers and manufacturers. Formulators will need to work with more ingredients that serve multiple purposes. For example, rather than use a sunscreen active that works primarily in one range of the UV spectrum (i.e., organic UV filters), they’ll need to switch to ones that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide provides the broadest spectrum of coverage among UV filters currently approved by the FDA. This ingredient has, however, been a challenge for formulators in the past due to its whitening effect on the skin. [Dow Personal Care has created dispersions] that go on clear, so formulators can achieve broad-spectrum protection in sunscreens, color cosmetics and other daily wear products without the whitening effect. With respect to consumers, there will likely be some initial confusion, but, in the long run, consumers will have more information on product labels to guide their purchases—and ultimately more complete UV protection available from their sun care products.

Hewitt: The release of the monograph, when it happens, will likely create a new set of targets for both ingredient suppliers and finished product manufacturers. As for consumers, it is hoped that the new monograph will allow formulators the freedom to innovate and provide the type of formulations for U.S. consumers that have been enjoyed by consumers elsewhere in the world for several years.

GCI: How can an ingredient supplier help guide a marketer of sun care products during this period?