Sun care is hot. According to Chicago-based market research firm Mintel, the sun protection and sunless tanner market grew 23 percent from 2007 to 2011, with 80 percent of consumers interested in natural products.
But it’s not all fun in the sun: Companies are scrambling to meet the recently enacted Food and Drug Administration sunscreen requirements, including testing for broad-spectrum coverage, quantifying water-resistant claims and ditching sun protection factors (SPFs) higher than 50. Stocking shelves with sunscreens that meet these requirements is critical—but not foolproof.
The requirements don’t address the potentially harmful chemicals used in many over-the-counter formulations. In fact, approximately 56 percent of beach and sport sunscreens use oxybenzone, a benzophenone chemical found in the urine of 97 percent of people and recently linked to endometriosis. Many chemical sunscreens also don’t offer broad-spectrum coverage, leading more and more customers to demand mineral sunscreens endorsed by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization.
To stock efficacious products, reference the EWG’s Sunscreen Report. [Editor's note: This link has been updated to a 2015 article.] But as a rule, favor sunscreens that use zinc oxide—a top broad-spectrum ingredient—and avoid too-low concentrations of titanium dioxide.
We suggest kick-starting summer with these favorites.
Dermatologists continue to recommend using sun protection daily. But it’s no surprise that when it comes to their everyday beauty regimens, women are more likely to embrace products that serve more than one purpose. Mintel reports that women prefer daily-use skin care products and makeup with SPF—and that sunscreen offerings boasting additional skin-healthy ingredients, such as antiaging antioxidants or plant stem cells, have an edge.
In fact, 70 percent of people who use sun protection seek products with some sort of “antiaging” ingredient, and 68 percent specifically look for antioxidants. The demand for antiaging products is not only among baby boomers: Younger consumers began reaching for these types of topicals several years ago. Today, nearly 80 percent of sun care consumers think sunscreen is an important part of a long-term healthy lifestyle, Mintel reports, showing the importance of positioning dual-action sun care products to women of all ages.