Let the Sun Shine In

November 10, 2005

Safety is today's sun care focus. It's easier than ever to get a tanned look without the sun or to play safely outdoors.

The future looks bright for the sun care industry: suntan lotion and oil sales were up 6.3% for the 52-week period ended Dec. 30, 2001, according to Information Resources, Inc., Chicago. Sun care marketers agree that these numbers will keep growing as increased consumer education and stepped-up scientific evaluation meet in the middle.

Information on the danger of UVB rays has been available for some time. In recent years, UVA rays also underwent scrutiny, and more UVA-blocking ingredients were incorporated into sunscreen preparations. Both ultraviolet ranges are potentially harmful, according to industry professionals contacted by Happi. But that does not mean that consumers must curtail their summer fun entirely.

"If you take a historical look at the sunscreen category, it was all about tanning in the 50s, 60s and 70s," said Frank Reilly of Sea & Ski, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. "By the mid-80s, the focus shifted more on protection. Now consumers are more educated than ever; the awareness level has gone from tanning vs. not tanning, to the differences between UVA and UVB rays and how to block both. People want to learn more. They want to protect their skin."

Marketers are happy to provide that information, as well as new products to suit every need-and niche. Few manufacturers are put off by the specter of the sunscreen monograph, which, temporarily at least, has been stayed once again. The monograph will not be issued before Jan. 1, 2005.

"When the monograph does become final, we will be prepared to make any changes that are stated at that time," said Stephanie Mellenberndt, senior product manager, Hawaiian Tropic.

At the same time, the monograph-which, until early this year, was still expected to become finalized Dec. 31-has nudged companies to research their sun care actives more than ever before. "Sun care companies have been trying to prepare for the monograph. If UVA rays will be measured as well, it will be important to know their products are already able to protect against those rays," Ms. Mellenberndt commented. "Many companies have been encouraged to be more thorough than ever before."

This added research, as well as marketing studies, yielded a cornucopia of new products last year in sunscreens and pre- and post-exposure treatments. Those who opt to stay out of the sun entirely can reach for any one of dozens of available self-tanners, while active individuals can slather on an SPF of 50 or even more. And for the segment that still desires a natural tan, lower SPF's and tan-boosting ingredients are available as well.

Hawaiian Tropic continues to turn out products for a variety of sun needs, including tanning, tanning prevention and self-tanning.

The self-tanning category shone as a significant segment last year; strides were made in this category that included skin-beneficial ingredients, longer-lasting tanned-look effects and smoother, more even application for a streak-free look.

Of course, self-tanning products, though delivering the appearance of a healthy tan, cannot protect against sun damage by themselves. Marketers were careful to point out that self-tanners that do not include sunscreen actives must be followed by a sunscreenin order for the skin to be protected, whether in the high sun of summer or the innocuous-looking but still dangerous exposure of colder or hazier days.

Let the Sun Shine In
Higher SPF products that promise a longer protected time in the sun are gaining more
and more market share every year.

At the same time, consumers are being urged to wear sunscreen year round, not only when it is warm or when the sun seems especially bright, as many UV rays will reach the skin regardless of season or sun brightness.

Banana Boat representatives said that sunscreen products should concentrate on both UVA and UVB protection in a broad range. The brand is dedicated to consumer education on total sun protection, according to a spokesperson. Children have been a focus, with representatives present at events geared toward the young in order to make proper sun care a habit.

The company's SPF 48 sprays and its new VitaSkin 50 target individuals who want high protection, but lower SPF products are still available.

The company will be compliant with the monograph when it is finalized, according to company executives. In the meantime, Banana Boat continues to produce appealing products for all age groups and a variety of desired levels of protection.

One such brand is Vita-Skin. Introduced in December, it contains avobenzone, vitamins and antioxidants. Initial sell-in of the VitaSkin brand helped parent company Playtex achieve 5% sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2001, according to Michael Gallagher, chief executive officer, Playtex Products, Westport, CT.

"We were most pleased to see the newest entry into our line up-VitaSkin-was successful in its first shipment period," Mr. Gallagher said in a statement. He added that the product actually achieved a 1.1% share of the sunscreen category late in the year.

Playtex continues to produce new lines and extensions to suit every need. Its Banana Boat Active Sport products in SPF 25 and 30 and Sport Sunblock range, available in SPF 15-30, were designed with more outdoorsy types in mind. Hands-free application makes applying the sprays convenient, and the product is waterproof, sweat-proof, rub-proof, hypoallergenic, non-greasy and 100% fragrance-free, company executives said.

The Banana Boat brand also offers Cool Colorz Vanishing spray for kids and Baby Sunblock lotion, while many consumers can benefit from Hair and Scalp Protector 15.

Hawaiian Tropic also continues to offer a variety of products from high SPF to tanning bed products, but company executives said a primary focus in 2002 will be to educate consumers about the importance of wearing sunscreen at an early age.

In keeping with that intent, the company introduced Barbie sunblock, which comes with either a fun, decorative "lei" style hair tie for the pump or a convenient clip for the stick. The Barbie tie-in will encourage sunscreen use from an early age, according to company executives.

The brand's initial rollout of the Barbie tie-in product in Florida last November "looks to be doing quite well," Ms. Mellenberndt said, and the company is ready for its April release in colder areas.

Hawaiian Tropic also introduced Sport Sunblock 30+, with a no-slip grip and water- and sweat-proof properties. The company's Dark, Golden and Protective tanning lotions offer SPFs 4, 6 and 8 respectively, and the company's Ozone Sunblock 70 is the highest SPF currently available, company executives said.

Hawaiian Tropic also introduced Tan Max indoor tanning sprays, as well as Tanning dry oil, which delivers a shiny, healthy look without feeling slick.

Other brands also lean toward tanning, and new releases appeared in the past year. For example, Tantra Sol, by Pro Tan, unabashedly offers a tanner tan and "dark results with a sultry sizzle," according to company executives. The product incorporates tangerine, guava and white gardenia. Its blend of ultra-light dry oils lubricates the skin for comfort while promoting a good old-fashioned tan.

VitaSkin, with avobenzone, vitamins and antioxidants, is the latest addition to Banana Boat's sun care lineup.

And Protection for All
Sea & Ski has added to its appeal with a new trademarked ingredient, astaZanthin, a "super antioxidant," according to company representatives.

In addition, the company signed on tennis legend Chris Evert as a spokesperson to communicate the importance of sun protection and re-introduce the brand to mothers and their families in North America.

"Chris Evert spent years in the sun, as everyone knows," Mr. Reilly of the company pointed out, "but just as important, she is a mom. Since it's very important for children in particular to use sunscreen, Ms. Evert is a positive communication piece that people can relate to."

To further communicate that outdoor fun can be safe, the company is stepping up education on its astaZanthin ingredient as well. The ingredient, derived from micro-algae, showed itself to be a stronger antioxidant than Vitamin E in test studies, company executives said.

The ingredient has been incorporated in the Sea & Ski line and is clearly marked on the products it is formulated into. Sea & Ski products containing astaZanthin include Advance, Sport, Faces, Kids and Baby sunblocks; Advanced Protection, Sport, Dark Tanning and Kids sprays and Sunless self tanning lotion.

Schering-Plough gave its signature Coppertone brand an update with a line of quick-drying sport gels, a dry oil tanning spray, sport-geared sunblock and a new Water Babies lotion stick. The company even produced a glitter product to appeal to youngsters, as well as a kids' sport spray lotion.

"If you look at consumers today, they do a great job protecting their children while playing in the pool," said Fred Duchin, vice president, suncare marketing, Schering-Plough. "Unfortu-nately, use of sunscreens during non-water activities such as soccer or other sports are not particularly good. We're trying to educate consumers that sunscreen must be used even when out of the water. Our product doesn't get in the way of kids playing."

Though many professionals agreed that sport and child-related products are the hot ticket items for the coming year, some sun care products have a decidedly adult agenda.

Sothys, which has offered full-treatment skin care in selected salons and spas for years, offers a sun care line for consumers who desire a spa-like experience in the home.

"We offer products containing Acti-bronze, which helps boost the activity of tyrosine to help create a longer-lasting tan," said Jean Stewart, regional director of operations, Sothys. "Our products can help deliver a glowing tan for up to five days following application on the skin."

Schering-Plough added glitter to make its Coppertone Kids appealing.

Of course, results are best when the full spa treatment precedes the application of either self-tanner or tan accelerator. But Sothys aims to enable consumers to come as close as possible to the salon experience in their homes with Illuminating Express, Faster Sun face repair for after-sun care and a complete sun care range of SPF 4-30. Sothys also exclusively utilizes the patented photonyl, which helps trigger skin cells' immediate response to UV damage by increasing its immune response, company executives said.

In addition to basic sun care, Sothys pampers the skin with the inclusion of fitoderm, an vegetable squalane that softens and hydrates, as well as vitamin F.

The Prevention Soleil line currently has seven SKUs, and the company introduced Sun Contract, a treatment program available at participating salons and spas that can include a number of Sothys products applied in a sequence that will best benefit the skin.

Babor, Palm Beach, FL, also offers an upscale at-home full treatment sun care line. The brand includes a Self Tanning cream, fluid and lotion; the Protection line; After-sun care products and even a Sun fragrance.

Stay Out of It
At the opposite end of the spectrum from sunscreen products are the self- tanners, which burst onto the scene during the past decade and have only grown from their initial introduction.

Although no sales numbers were available at press time for self-tanners, most sun care companies that previously did not offer sunless tanning products added them to their lines during the past several years. And the most popular brands have offered them for a decade or more.

Why? Because a tanned glow gives the appearance of health-ironically, since overexposure to the sun can have the opposite effect. UVB rays, and the more recently investigated UVA range, can not only prematurely age but, in some cases, cause permanent damage to the skin.

When initial studies revealed the potential hazards of tanning, consumers responded with a demand for more information, as well as better UV protection in the form of higher SPF.

Now that panic has been tempered with education, manufacturers are seeing demand for a healthy glow regardless of the amount of protection used. This can be accomplished more easily than ever with today's generation of self-tanning products.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the leader in self-tanning ingredients, reacts with the skin to create a darker but still natural look, according to industry ex-perts. DHA has been highly sought out for a sun-kissed summertime effect and is vastly superior to many of the sunless tanning creams and lotions of the past, which temporarily dyed the skin and often had an orange like color.

Though DHA has also been around for some time, it remains the ingredient of choice for most manufacturers of sunless tanners, and consumers have responded enthusiastically to this more natural-looking ingredient.

Shimmering self-tanner was so coveted by consumers that its manufacturer, Sun Laboratories, Chatsworth, CA, rescinded earlier plans to pull the product off the market for reformulation.

"What we go for is shelf life and quality of the product," said Dean Hunter, vice president, at the time the announcement to pull the product was made. "This product is great, but it could be better, and it is going to stay off the market until we find the best formula possible."

Sun Labs enthusiasts would have none of it, according to company executives, and in February the company decided to keep the product on the shelf after all.

Company executives said that the line offers more than just self-tanning. Shimmering self-tanner delivers a deep, dark tan while concurrently moisturizing the skin and has an appealing cherry-almond fragrance. The product is popular for events or evenings out due to its sparkly look, and the color lasts up to seven days, according to the company.

Sun Labs offers a full range of self-tanning products which incorporate skin-beneficial ingredients. The company's Ultra Dark Instant self-tanner contains botanicals such as aloe vera gel; it hydrates and protects the skin without irritation or clogging pores, according to the company. A spokesperson said that the brand is a favorite of makeup artist Julie Hewett, who said she has used it on a number of celebrities, and the product was utilized on the set of Pearl Harbor.

Ban de Soleil, one of the market's more upscale lines, recently added Radiance Eternelle, a sunless tanner. meanwhile, Coppertone's Endless Summer line continued to perform well according to Schering-Plough, which markets both lines. Schering-Plough executives said sunless products are more popular than ever.

"Sunless tanners grew 30% last year, according to A.C. Nielsen data," said Mr. Duchin of Schering-Plough. "We will continue to aggressively promote the products that were introduced last year. The category will continue to grow; it's a way for consumers to get a safe color while avoiding the potential hazards of the sun."

Schering-Plough's offerings seem to be a recipe for success: according to Mr. Duchin, Endless Summer garnered a 24% share of the sunless tanning market, while Radiance Eternelle carved out a 7% share.

"We're going to continue to generate strong trial on these two products because consumers have embraced them," Mr. Duchin noted. "We're looking to build trial and momentum."

Banana Boat, a consumer favorite since its inception and the No. 1 brand in suntan oils and lotions for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30, has excelled in the sunless category as well.

Its latest venture into the segment is Sunless Tanning Creme with Color Indicator. The product contains natural ingredients such as henna to help eliminate streaking; the light brown color of the creme helps the user see where it has already been applied on the body, and reapplication to the desired darkness is easier. The formulation is non-greasy, ultra moisturizing with aloe vera and vitamin E and comes in two shades, Soft Medium and Deep Dark.

A Winning Combination
Though protection is considered a must for many consumers, the look of tanned skin is still considered desirable. At the same time, skin-caring products re-main popular.

In response, the self-tanning category has come a long way: today's self-tanning products often include skin care ingredients and, in many cases, antioxidants, which can offset sun damage to a degree as well, according to industry professionals contacted by Happi.

The rules are strict on designating any ingredient as sun-protective and none of these ingredients can legally advertise an SPF, but free radical scavengers/antioxidants certainly can't hurt, if for care of the skin alone. Vitamin E, for example, or balms and lotions containing products naturally rich in the vitamin, have been utilized for centuries for skin care and is a well-known antioxidant. Sothys utilizes vitamin E as well as other botanicals for a soothing effect, according to company executives.

At Sothys, sun care and sunless tanning are a process rather than a quick fix; visitors to salons offering its products and services can expect a full skin care treatment regimen including, if desired, self-tanner application or pre-sun preparation.

One of the line's most exciting new products is Prevention Soleil Illum-inating Express self-tanner.

"Illuminating Express gives a quick, natural, slightly irridescent tan," said Ms. Stewart of Sothys. "It contains a mineral powder which reflects golden irridescence on the skin." The ingredient activating the self-tanning property of the product is DHA, but "the DHA in Illuminating Express is active within 30 minutes of application," Ms. Stewart insisted. "And due to the presence of the active ingredients jojoba and corn germ oil, as well as our exclusive trademarked ingredients, the self-tanner will hydrate the skin to make it soft, protected and supple."

Sea & Ski's astaZanthin was included in the brand's self-tanner. Testing has shown that astaZanthin can be 100-500 times more potent than vitamin E, according to Mr. Reilly of the company.

"Vitamin E has been the gold standard for antioxidants," Mr. Reilly said, "but astaZanthin offers even more antioxidant potential." The ingredient is actually the component within salmon that gives them their pink color: "The component protects salmon and flamingos," Mr. Reilly said.

Sothys offers its Prevention Soleil line, which includes Illuminating Express self-tanner with Actibronze.

The pink color makes for a visual difference to consumers as well. "When the product is applied, it's a light pink color, but when rubbed in, it becomes clear and neutral," Mr. Reilly revealed. "When people apply the product, they can see that it's different from other formulations." Sea & Ski Sunless, as well as other Sea & Ski products, contain the algae-derived ingredient.

Though a combination of sunscreen and sunless tanner can be cost prohibitive to many consumers, L'Oréal bridged that gap with Ombrelle Sunless Spray SPF 12 and Ombrelle For Faces. Both offer two shade possibilities as well as sunscreen, so that the consumer can enjoy the outdoors safely while sporting the appearance of a natural-looking tan.

The concept adds convenience, as skin care specialists have noted repeatedly that sun protection is always a necessity and is important to any skin shade or type. The appearance of a tan can be misleading to some consumers, who assume that because they appear darker and are using a product that reacts with the skin's proteins, they may have achieved greater protection in the process. This is not the case; the use of a self-tanner, if it does not contain UV absorbers or blocks, must be layered afterward with an actual sunscreen in order to help prevent or hinder sun damage.

Taking Things Personally
What to do if the damage has already been done due to sun exposure or other environmental factors?

There are a variety of options available for the treatment of skin conditions resulting from overexposure to harmful UV rays, and often, the victims of such maladies are baby boomers and older individuals who grew up believing that sun exposure was harmless.

But some individuals have taken matters into their own hands and created product lines based on personal, though often painful, experiences. These innovators intend to keep consumers from experiencing the same difficulties they did, and produce products that go a step further in educating and protecting a public that is still on a sun care learning curve.

Solar FX, a men's skin care system, was developed after Stephen Hess, chief executive officer of International Cosmeceuticals Inc., which distributes the product, had a cancerous mole removed from his face. Following the procedure, Mr. Hess was told by his dermatologist that he needed to use sun protection on a daily basis.

"I tried different sunscreens," Mr. Hess revealed, "but they all seemed too heavy and thick. Then I noticed that my wife's products had SPF built in, such as her foundations, moisturizers and lip sticks. I thought, 'that's a good idea.'" Out of this concept Solar FX and Solar FX Sport were born.

Sea & Ski Kids contains astaZanthin.
"The idea behind Solar FX is that it's a product that men would use every day anyway," Mr. Hess explained. "It has the same properties and uses of an aftershave, but it doesn't dry out the skin. It contains vitamins and antioxidants for a nice feel, and the men who have tried the product like the smell." The product includes extracts such as licorice, algae, cucumber, kava kava, lime tree, elder tree and kola nut. Vitamin E adds to the skin-soothing and antioxidant effects of the product.

A new balm was also developed; it too contains an abundance of botanicals. It is slightly more moisturizing than the original product "but it still goes on with that feel that it's 'not' a sunscreen," Mr.

Hess pointed out. He added that the product can be used on the ears or on the head where balding areas are present.

The Solar FX SPF Sport spray has been successful as well, according to Mr. Hess. "The product is lightweight and smells good," he said. "Golfers, bicyclists and joggers all love the product. It's upscale, but it's easy to use and unlike traditional aftershaves, there is no stinging when the active user begins to sweat."

SPF to Go also has a personal interest; its founder intends to help families in need with proceeds garnered from his products.

Scott Davis created the line "not only to provide the best possible sun protection for families and individuals, but to reflect (Mr. Davis') personal philosophy of community service and fulfill a deeply personal promise," according to a company spokesperson.

SPF to Go is a serious product: it contains Z-cote (zinc oxide) for heavy protection and is available in easy-to-carry packettes so that individuals can be protected no matter where they go.

And the product is upscale, according to Mr. Davis. "The product is non-greasy, has a good formulation and has a contemporary scent that is clean and fresh," he noted. "It has a lotion or cosmetic feel to it. We put ingredients such as tea tree oil, vitamin E and aloe vera into the formulation so that it feels good, moisturizes and is anti-inflammatory."

For extra convenience, 2-oz. and 4-oz. sizes are also available. But the travel-ready packettes were an immediate hit, according to Mr. Davis. "What we found was an abundance of women who started giving it to their husbands and children," he said.

This follows Mr. Davis' philosophy and the bottom line of the brand: safety and protection for the entire family. In that vein, 2% of the company's net income goes to The Sara Foundation, an organization named after Mr. Davis' daughter, who died from leukemia in 1990. The goal of the foundation is to create a ranch retreat for terminally ill children and their families. The company is currently looking into possible locations in Colorado.

The foundation will also support underprivileged children and abused women. "We have a wellness center in mind," Mr. Davis said. "We want to offer activities like mountain bike riding, horseback riding and a technology section for all kinds of resources for families in need."

Mr. Davis seems to have chosen the ideal way to go about achieving that vision: a product that people of all ages and lifestyles can utilize. "The company has been around since last January, and I've been formulating the product itself for three years," Mr. Davis commented. "We're really happy with the way things are going."

Nor would he turn back: "I left my job almost three years ago to focus on this vision," he said, "and I love what I do now. We are community-based and we have people who care."

With increased sun awareness education, stepped-up protective products and companies that care, it is the consumers who win in the battle against sun damage-and marketers agree that this focus on safety is what makes sun care an industry that really shines.

For a list of sun care activites, as well as new ingredients for sun care formulas, please read the print version of Happi.

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