Sun Care 2003: New Advvances

November 14, 2005

New ingredients and self-tanners are this year's hope for heating up a lukewarm category.

Sun care sizzled in 2001, but last year, sales were lukewarm. The category posted gains in 2002, but they were nowhere near the levels of previous sun care seasons.

Suntan lotions and oils grew tremendously in consumer usage during the 1980s and 1990s, when the dangers of UV-exposure were made known to the public. To combat the potential problems associated with sun exposure—which range from skin “spots” on the face and back to premature aging to fast-growing melanoma—higher-SPF products were introduced to the public, and gobbled up in unprecedented numbers.

At the same time, common cosmetics, such as foundations and moisturizers, were beginning to boast SPFs of 8, 15 and even higher.

With such demand for sun protection, last year’s 2.3% gain in suntan lotions and oils seems rather unremarkable. Sales are for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 29, 2002, according to Information Resources Inc., Chicago, and figures exclude Wal-Mart sales. The total market for suntan lotions and oils including sunless products was $423.8 million. Schering-Plough’s Coppertone products accounted for five of the Top 10 and three Banana Boat products (Playtex Products) were in the Top 10.

Among industry experts, opinions vary as to why sun care sales posted only moderate growth last year. One theory is that unit costs for traditional sunscreens have grown only marginally. “The traditional sun care category growth in 2002 on a unit basis was close to historical norms, particularly if you take sunless (products) out of the equation,” insisted Parker Gilbert, vice president of marketing, Banana Boat. “Dollar growth has not been as great primarily due to consistent year-to-year pricing and no significant new product introduction at a high price point.”

Mr. Gilbert pointed out that despite increased education in sun care awareness, there is still a gap between understanding the dangers and remembering to routinely apply protection.

“(In the near future), category usage behavior will be a gradual change whereby consumers will use sunscreen more regularly and reapply correctly. When this picks up steam, the category will see strong growth again.”

A Fake Bake
Meanwhile, many consumers are limiting their sun exposure in general, or utilizing high-SPF products. The difference, of course, is the lack of what was once known as a “healthy” tan. The image of a healthy tan has been slow to fade. The compromise has been the advent of the self-tanning lotion, cream or other product, which delivers the appearance of darker skin without any of the sunbathing risks.

Sunscreen marketers have shifted almost seamlessly with this trend, and the self-tanning product of days gone by—which left the skin streaky and often slightly orange—has evolved into a variety of applications and tones to suit every consumer’s need.

In fact, some sun care marketers told Happi that the greatest advances in the future of this category will involve better self-tanning. Sunscreens, available in SPFs as high as 50, may have already reached their limits, and advances in sunscreen suspensions and skin-caring additives are currently more a matter of fine-tuning and categorizing than true advances. By contrast, self-tanners are less charted territory and offer room for tremendous growth, according to industry experts.

Schering-Plough, the category leader with $149 million in sales of suntan lotions, oils and sunless products for the year ended Dec. 29, 2002 according to IRI, has added sunless foams under the Ban de Soleil label. The foams will be a part of the Streak Guard line.

Fred Duchin, vice president, sun care marketing, Schering-Plough, compared the new line to other product forms: “The Streak Guard line will be popular with consumers because of the smoother application,” he said. Streak Guard products were shipped to retailers in December 2002.

Playtex is in on the action as well with the Banana Boat Sunless system, a line of products aimed at providing consumers with the most natural-looking tan possible without the sun, according to company executives. Playtex held the No. 2 spot last year, with $89.4 million in sales, according to IRI data.

The Banana Boat Sunless line includes a Pre-Sunless Exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin cells and provide a smoother skin surface for its Sunless products. The exfoliator works with the Sunless lotion to give consumers “instant color that is the most natural sunless tan available,” insisted Mr. Gilbert.

Sun Labs, Chatsworth, CA, showed its confidence in the sunless tanning category with new introductions of its own. The company introduced Strictly Faces, the latest addition to Sun Labs’ self-tanning line. The product is formulated to “come as close to (the look of) a ‘real’ suntan as possible,” according to Sun Labs executives. The self-tanner also includes SPF 15 for protection and natural fruit acids to replenish and revitalize the skin.

Upscale line Sothys’ Prevention Soleil brand “brings advanced skin protection to sun worshipers worldwide,” said Viviane Garces-Perez, general manager, Sothys USA. “Developed by scientists at our renowned Beauty Institute, these products feature photonyl, a new ingredient that offers unparalleled sun protection.” The line includes Autobronzant Self-Tanning lotion, which delivers a glowing tanned look within three hours of application, and Apres-Soleil After-Sun lotion, gentle enough for even the delicate eye and lip areas.

Making a Splash
Playtex’s Banana Boat and Schering-Plough’s Coppertone and Waterbabies lines have been sun care staples for years, and niche and upscale companies were among the first sun care and self-tanning innovators. But newer marketers are making a splash in the category too.

Breeze Products Inc., Largo, FL, formed in 1999 by company president Mike Lemle, already boasts a collection of 60 products and some 250 private-label items, covering virtually every sun care need from self-tanning to pre- and post-tan preparations.

“The sun care industry is changing insomuch as SPFs are getting higher, and there is a realism that the only ‘safe’ way to get a tanned-looking appearance is to use indoor tanning products,” said Robert Dowdell, vice president, research and development, Breeze.

At the end of last year, the company introduced the Platinum range of products. Items in the Platinum series include Shimmer lotion, Maximum Intensifier lotion with melanin stimulators, Double the Bronzer lotion, Double Cold Fudge bronzing lotion and Double Hot Fudge lotion. The products include such cutting-edge ingredients as green and white tea extracts, and copper and caffeine, which are said to tone the skin.

Future projects will include a range of non-aerosol foamers for ease of application and convenience, as well as an innovative, self-tanning aerosol product. The Platinum range will also be extended.

The company’s vision is “to introduce cosmetic/skin care-based tanning products into the indoor tanning industry with goals to find the perfect crossover sunless products for the public that do not involve exposure to UV rays,” Mr. Dowdell said.

He added, “If you can formulate the perfect sunless product, whether it is a cream or spray solution—something that can be applied in under a minute with the least amount of hassle—it will ultimately become the safest and most popular way to tan.”

Coppertone Endless Summer Faces has dual chambers to help deliver natural, even color in about 30 minutes.

Superior Protection
Of course, no matter how careful one is to stay out of the sun, there’s no avoiding it altogether. Since sunless tanning (typically with DHA-containing products) offers no sun protection, a UV-containing product is still essential, not only during the sunny summer months but year-round, according to marketers contacted by Happi.

The biggest names in sun care are still shining; once again, Schering-Plough and Playtex were Nos. 1 and 2 respectively in 2002. How do they do it? Company executives said they accomplish this by moving with the times while still offering what consumers are most concerned about: superior protection from potentially dangerous UV rays.

“Under the Coppertone brand, we have a number of new products,” said Mr. Duchin of Schering-Plough. “Endless Summer Faces has dual chambers to give natural, even color in 30 minutes. It also contains pro-retinol, which is clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.”

The company also introduced a new line, Coppertone Spectra 3, in both Kids and Waterbabies forms. “Coppertone Spectra 3 is a combination physical and chemical sunscreen with a patented formula of zinc oxide,” Mr. Duchin said. “The SPF 50 formulas offer triple protection: they deflect, scatter and absorb UV rays.” The products contain a micronized form of zinc oxide for a smooth skin feel on application.

Under the successful Coppertone Sport name, Schering-Plough has introduced a trigger spray. And the company developed Coppertone Dry Oil Sunscreen spray SPF 15, “which gives the glistening look of a tanning oil, but provides significant protection,” Mr. Duchin pointed out. “It’s a great product for somebody who’s younger and who likes the feel of an oil, but still desires protection.”

Playtex is also going strong with its Banana Boat products. In addition to its Vitaskin-containing products under the Sunless line, the company has introduced advances in its sun care products. Banana Boat is combining its experience in sun care with gentle Baby Magic in the new Banana Boat Baby Magic sunblock, available in both lotion and spray.

Sothys’ Prevention Soleil brand brings advanced skin protection to sun worshipers worldwide, according to the company.

“All products are tested to be as mild as water, while also providing the highest SPF available for babies—SPF 50 for the lotion and 48 for the spray,” commented Mr. Gilbert of the company. “Banana Boat Baby Magic lotion (8-oz. size) has the added patented protection of ‘instant protection,’ which means that the sun protection starts working as soon as it touches the baby’s skin without having to wait up to 15 minutes, like other baby sunscreens. This innovation provides mothers with the reassurance that their child is instantly protected in the sun and in the water.”

Also on Playtex’s agenda is Suntanicals, available in SPF 8 and SPF 15. Suntanicals “provide consumers an indulgent opportunity to get a healthy-looking tan with moderate protection,” Mr. Gilbert said. Both products have a light, silky feel, contain aloe, chamomile and lavender for skin moisturization and are enriched with an aromatherapeutic fragrance for a more relaxing tanning experience.

Hawaiian Tropic, which offers a full range of sun care products, added three new protective lip care products “for kissable lips all year long.” The 45 Plus Aloe Vera Sunblock lip balms include Original Tropical, Citrus and Vanilla-Mint flavors. The balms provide a protective SPF of 45 for the lips, are PABA-free and help prevent chapping and damage. According to Hawaiian Tropic executives, the balms are recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as safe and effective UV sunscreens, aiding in the prevention of sun-induced damage to the skin including sunburn and possible premature aging.

Origins is building a bigger presence in the upscale sun care market.

New on the Horizon
Even companies that have stayed in the shadows of the sun care giants are getting their turn with the introduction of newer, more powerful sun care ingredients.

Cocoa Beach, FL-based Sun & Skin Care Research Inc., is in on the latest technology with its Ocean Potion Xtreme Sun Care brand, which contains avobenzone (Parsol 1789).

“Parsol 1789 is the most effective way to protect skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays,” insisted Leslie Ansley, vice president, marketing, Sun & Skin Care Research Inc. “Parsol 1789 chemically alters the way sunlight enters the skin, and it is very safe to use.”

In addition, all Ocean Potion sun care products are enriched with antioxidant vitamins. “These formulas help prevent skin damage and aging,” Ms. Ansley said.

The Xtreme Sun Care line includes SPF 8, 15, 30 and 50 formulations as well as Kids 30+, in spray and lotion, Baby 50 and Sports 30 spray and lotion. The products are available in major mass discount, drug chains and grocery retailers, as well as independent and resort locations, for $3.99-6.99.

Ocean Potion also offers a Weekly Sunless system. “By now we have all been taught the necessary steps to a great sunless tan,” Ms. Ansley commented. “It often requires the use of several different products to exfoliate, tan and moisturize.” And after all that work, the average self-tanner’s color may last as little as a few days, Ms. Ansley said.

The three-step Weekly Sunless system makes sunless tanning simple, streak-free and delivers lasting results of a week or more, Ms. Ansley said. The three-step process allows consumers to achieve the desired degree of color with the easiest possible application and delivers long-lasting results.

Tanya Cleanse and Refresh cloths help consumers get a more even, longer-lasting tan—whether indoors at a salon or outdoors in the sun.

New Introductions
Other well-known marketers aim to heat up sun care sales as well with new introductions of their own. Origins has added Sunshine State SPF 20 sunscreen with natural minerals for face and body. The formulation is oil-free and sweat-resistant with micro-fine, mineral-made titanium dioxide to provide broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

Origins also added Faux Glow Radiant self-tanner for the face. The self-tanning gel is oil-free and provides an instant glow as it self-tans skin, according to Origins executives.

Instead of pleasing consumers by adding SPF to cosmetic products and moisturizers, emerginC is taking the opposite route by adding tint to its Sun 30+ Tinted Broad Spectrum protector. “While many cosmetic companies create a makeup product including SPF, emerginC has revised the trend by creating sun protection that includes a tint of coverage,” a company spokesperson said. “The formula protects the skin from damage while evening out the tone for a flawless appearance.” EmerginC retailers can be located on the company’s website, www.emerginC.com.

Since sun care has evolved from a one-step protection application to a skin-caring process, Tanya Distributors Inc., Navarre, FL, has introduced products for both before- and after-care. Tanya Cleanse and Refresh cloths help consumers get a more even, longer-lasting tan—whether indoors at a salon or outdoors.

Tanya Cleanse Before Tanning Cleansing cloths remove daily impurities and SPF-containing products, prepping the skin for a more even, long-lasting tan, company executives said. The wet-and-lather formulation and disposable cloth offer on-the-spot cleansing when needed.

Refresh After-Tan Refreshing cloths are pre-moistened to remove lotion residue and perspiration by simply wiping it away. The cloths are lightly scented to leave the skin feeling and smelling fresh. Both Cleanse and Refresh are available in two cloths to a pack for $2.50 each. Tanya products can be found at the company’s website, www.TanyaUS.com.

Beyond Retail
Sun care sales may have dimmed a bit in 2002, but retailers predict a continuous climb, even if it’s by baby steps rather than huge strides.

Schering-Plough executives are looking beyond retail to give consumers what they really need: greater sun care awareness education.

“We are working with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores to develop a not-for-profit group called the Sun Safety Alliance,” said Mr. Duchin of the company. “Schering-Plough is a founding member. We will be dedicated to providing consumer information, retail promotions and pharmacy communication to reduce the incidence and mortaility of skin cancer.” Skin cancer is one of the fastest-growing cancers nationally and is now the No. 1 cancer killer of women under age 30, Mr. Duchin pointed out.

The association is still in the works, but plans include an in-school education program to reach third grade youngsters and educate them from a sun safety standpoint. “Sun care awareness should begin at a young age,” Mr. Duchin said, “in order to become a health habit later on.” The kickoff for the assocation is planned for later this spring.

Other marketers agree that sun care has moved from the realm of cosmetic to necessity, and that sales should pick up in the coming months. “I am positive that much (of the reason for lower sales) is due to the general economic downturn,” said Mr. Dowdell of Breeze. “Sales will continue to be somewhat flat in the coming months for reasons of economy, uncertainty about unemployment and the prospect of conflict in the Middle East. Our opinion is that it will remain flat until these issues are resolved this year, with an anticipated upturn in 2004.”

Playtex executives agreed that sun care will remain in the forefront and will post slow, but steady, gains. “We continue to forecast a moderate growth of sun care in the 3-5% range annually,” predicted Mr. Gilbert.

With increased consumer awareness, sun exposure alternatives such as DHA and new ingredients that offer superior protection, sun care’s future still looks bright.