Sun Care Brands Deliver Daily Protection & Skin Health

Rising brands and established players emphasize sun protection in wellness and beauty routines through SPF formulations with aesthetics designed for daily wear.

No longer relegated to the bottom of the beach tote, sunscreen has become more an everyday occurrence, in some fashion, for many Americans. Not all, of course, as skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Although the exact number of cases each year isn’t known, ACS experts say it hovers around five million cases annually. 

ACS, and those on the frontlines of skin health, namely members of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), attest that many of those skin cancers could be prevented by protecting skin from excessive sun exposure and not using indoor tanning devices. The AAD protocol includes use of “broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher whenever outside, even on cloudy days”—and that means consumers should be donning sun protection every day.

On The Daily

Dermatologists and skin health experts alike have been talking to patients and consumers about daily sun protection for years.

EltaMD, for example, was named to Fast Company’s “Brands that Matter” list for its campaign to increase awareness of skin cancer and how to prevent it. The professional sun protection brand’s “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” campaign, rolled out last year, reminded people to include every part of the body when applying sunscreen and to check for moles as well. It included sweepstakes, activations and partnerships with top beauty publications and celebrity and influencer collaborations as well as dermatologists. EltaMD sponsored mobile skin cancer screening programs.

Programs like “SPOTS” help, too. Founded by the medical schools of Saint Louis University and Washington University in St Louis, Sun Protection Outreach Teaching by Students (aka SPOTS)  is an outreach program in which medical school students teach prevention measures to increase knowledge and positively affect younger students’ attitudes and behaviors toward sun protection.
The constant messaging is sinking in, say some experts, which is good for health, but like sunny weather, is also good for the category overall.

According to recent data from Information Resources (see chart), sales of sun care products in US multi-outlets and c-stores rose 5.7% to $1.6 billion with unit sales up 2.8%, for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 1, 2023.

“We definitely find that consumers are more educated than ever about sun protection, and SPF is now a non-negotiable in consumers’ skin care routines,” said Britany LeBlanc, chief marketing officer at Supergoop. The San Antonio, TX-based company, which was founded in 2005 by Holly Thaggard, is part of a rising wave of beauty brands that put sun protection front and center.

Naked Sundays is an Australian brand that offers unique formulations with SPF 50 protection.
In fact, Supergoop boasts that it created an entirely new category on the premise that skin should be protected year-round and SPF should be worn every single day, according to LeBlanc.

“We were the very first to put SPF truly at the forefront and are the only brand that prioritizes launching SPF-focused products throughout the year–even in January,” she told Happi.

LeBlanc explained that Supergoop’s roster of proprietary, first-to-market formulas make it “easier and more enjoyable” to prioritize SPF protection and integrate it into a daily routine.

“As a result of our efforts over the last 15 years, we’ve seen an inflection point in the conversation around SPF. While sunscreen was once marketed as a seasonal product that disappeared during the winter months, the brand has actively worked to change this antiquated perception, transforming SPF from seasonal to an everyday necessity,” LeBlanc said.

Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen marked its fifth anniversary earlier this year. This 100% invisible, weightless and scentless sunscreen disrupted the industry, notes the brand, which has expanded its range to include primers, mousses and powder. According to LeBlanc, Supergoop continues to pioneer new formats for SPF, while infusing SPF into products consumers already use, such as moisturizers, eyeshadows and setting sprays to make daily sun protection a seamless part of customers’ routines. 

What’s more, Supergoop is expanding its retail presence; the brand’s products are now available in all Ulta Beauty stores nationwide, following an initial launch with the retailer last year.

“This ladders up to our greater mission of eradicating the skin cancer epidemic by expanding access to our innovative SPF products and meeting customers where they are,” Le-Blanc told Happi.

Olay, too, is delivering consumers more products that combine sun protection and skin health benefits.

“We want to create solutions that consumers can integrate into their daily lives, and products that do more than protect them from the sun,” said Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson, a senior beauty science with Olay. “We’ve developed a suite of ingredient-led SPF moisturizers that offer not only sun protection but skin care benefits ranging from boosting the skin’s brightness and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles—all with a lightweight feel.”

According to Wilkerson, this combination gets to the crux of an issue with sun protection products.

“One of the biggest barriers that stops consumers from using SPF every day is they hate the way it feels on their skin, so we’ve ensured that all of our SPFs absorb quickly and have a non-greasy feel,” she said.

Olay’s best-selling SPF product, Regenerist Whip SPF 25 Moisturizer, is designed with Active Rush Technology, which Wilkerson said “transforms from cream to liquid on skin” to deliver a combination of potent ingredients and sun protection in an ultra-lightweight form.

Olay continues to provide new formulations that offer skin health benefits and sun protection, like Regenerist Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Hydrating SPF 30.
“Olay focuses on craftsmanship and having the right balance of active ingredients to deliver a skin benefit across all of our products,” said Wilkerson. “For Olay, it’s important that all of our sunscreens with and without zinc oxide deliver the right balance of sunscreen actives to provide an accurate level of SPF protection, and simultaneously deliver the desired skin benefits in a formula that absorbs. We rely on years of formulation expertise and combine that with technical and consumer testing to design the optimal sunscreen product to meet needs across feel, look, skin benefits and protection.”

Wilkerson told Happi that Olay formulas contain the right blend of absorbent polymeric thickeners and dry powder with specific properties that provide great product aesthetic and skin feel.

The Olay franchise continues to expand; the newest launch is Olay Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 SPF 30 moisturizer. It offers long-lasting hydration and SPF 30 UVA/UVB sun protection without the heaviness. The hyaluronic acid gives skin immediate radiance, while the niacinamide and peptides work to provide long-term results, noted Wilkerson.

Pretty Faces, Protected

Providing sun protection in formats that are easily incorporated into one’s daily life is at the heart of Naked Sundays, an Australian brand founded by a former TV reporter named Samantha Brett. Launched in 2021, the brand quickly won over consumers and last year expanded into the US.

Naked Sundays’ surge in popularity—proven by its robust social media following— stems from products like SPF50 Clear Glow Radiant Sun Serum, billed as a 100% clear sunscreen serum that is 100% vegan with a satin finish, and SPF 50+ Hydrating Glow Mist Top Up, a unique formula that is completely invisible and designed to set makeup and benefit skin.

Brett described the mist as the “OG” Naked Sundays product.

“I wanted people to be able to throw it in their handbags and top up their SPF on their face and body all day long without ruining their makeup, she told Happi. It can also be worn on naked skin and is designed for easy reapplication.

“As a TV news reporter, I always struggled to find an SPF that I could easily use without getting sticky fingers and could also work well with my makeup. I came up with a spray that doesn’t need to be rubbed in, and also would be good for your skin, and help set your makeup at the same time. No easy feat! Also, the FDA suggests that you top up your SPF every 80 minutes. So, I really wanted Naked Sundays to be a brand that focused on this element of sunscreen, no other sunscreen caters for actually topping up sunscreen—but people forget that your morning SPF is pretty much useless by 9am.” 

Ease of use is an important element, too.

Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen has been a bestseller for the brand since it hit the market five years ago.
“I also wanted the mist to be as fun, easy to use, simple and good for your skin as possible, so I added ingredients like hyaluronic acid, watermelon extract and an incredible vitamin C-rich natural Australian botanical called Kakadu Plum for extra radiance,” she said.

Naked Sundays’ formulations are broad spectrum to meet the requirements of Australia’s regulatory body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), “which has the strictest sunscreen rules on the planet,” said Brett. “We also test every single batch to ensure that they encompass the correct number of actives.”

Brett’s experience as a reporter also inspired the serum formulation.

“Getting up at 3am to go to work with a full face of makeup meant my beauty routine had to be simple and multi-tasking,” she said. “I love serums on my skin to help keep it juicy and plump, so I created an SPF50 serum so that I would only need one step in the morning before my makeup.”

According to Brett, all of her brand’s sunscreens are TGA/FDA listed and use sunscreen filters that have been around for decades and provide the highest sun protection.

“It was really important to me that all our sunscreens are at least SPF50 due to the heavy amount of dangerous UV rays we experience in Australia—and also due to the prevalence of skin cancer amongst the younger generation, who don’t often stop to think about SPF,” she said.

The Naked Sundays stable includes other problem-solvers, such as products for forgotten areas like eyelids.

The eyelid “actually gets about 10% of all skin cancers, and yet is almost 100% overlooked,” Brett asserted.

“The one thing many people find so difficult about applying—and re-applying—sunscreen is that most sunscreens are not suitable for the eyes,” she added.

Brett’s answer is Naked Sundays’ line of SPF50 Sheer Glow Balms. The sheer 100% mineral balms come in a range of makeup colors including Rose, Bronze and Champagne. The SPF50 Balms can be applied straight onto the eyelid for protection or used as eyeshadow base.

In addition, Naked Sundays will add new colors to its SPF 50 Lip Oils line.

“Lips are also highly forgotten about when it comes to sun protection, and yet are highly susceptible to sun damage,”  Brett concluded.

New For Under the Sun

Across the category, brands continue to enhance their formulations to deliver improved protection, better aesthetics for daily compliance and new components that deliver added benefits for skin health.

Kiss My Face’s newest launches include Kiss My Face Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF50, Daily Sunscreen Lotion SPF50, and Face Factor SPF50, which contain unique skin health ingredients.

“We strive to offer our consumers the best possible sun protection,” said Nathalie Yin, head of marketing at Kiss My Face, which is part of Naturally Original, Inc.

Key components beyond SPF include lutein and liposomal vitamin C, which deliver strong antioxidant properties that protect skin against oxidative stress from the environmental stressors such as sun and pollution. Liposomal vitamin C, the more stable form of vitamin C, offers an antioxidant benefit can be delivered more effectively, according to the company. The materials help provide anti-aging effects to improve the appearance of skin, too.

“Infused with these two antioxidants, our mineral sunscreen lotions will not only protect skin from the harmful sunrays, but also help reduce the production of skin damaging free radicals that lead to premature aging,” said Yin.

Kiss My Face is also addressing issues that deter compliance.

“Many consumers avoid using mineral sunscreens daily due to the fact that many mineral sunscreens form a white cast or leave a greasy feel and finish on skin. Some consumers also worry about sunscreens causing skin sensitivity or clogging pores. Kiss My Face’s new  mineral sunscreen lotions go onto skin smoothly and invisibly without leaving any greasy, shiny or heavy feel.  In addition, all three formulas are hypoallergenic,” Yin told Happi.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen’s Sensitive Lotion SPF 50+ earned an Allure Best of Beauty Award in the body category. The zinc oxide and titanium dioxide mineral formula provides broad spectrum protection. It is also available in stick and spray forms.

La Roche-Posay’s new Anthelios 50 Gentle Lotion Kids Sunscreen provides a new option for face and body. It has a lightweight, comfortable texture specifically developed to be gentle. Water resistant (80 minutes), it is said to blend easily on all skin tones without leaving a white cast on skin, and sand brushes off easily after application.

Skinuva has added Skinuva Scar+ SPF 30, billed as scar photoaging defense cream. It has the same components as original Skinuva Scar (synthetic growth factors, silicone, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, aloe vera and vitamin C),  with added non-nano zinc oxide for broad spectrum protection. Zinc’s anti-inflammatory properties can help aid skin in the healing phase, too.

For the Greater Good

Chemists work in the lab to create products that garner a greater share of this multi-billion-dollar category—but their work also saves lives.

And make lives more livable. The R&D team at Beiersdorf and Nivea created special cosmetic sun protection product for a four-year-old named Charlotte with a very rare light disease called EPP; when her skin comes into direct contact with the visible, colored components of sunlight, the genetic defect causes neuropathic pain and triggers burns on the skin. Through research led by Dr. Ludger Kolbe, chief scientist for photobiology, chemists developed a tailored product that allows her to stay in direct sunlight for a short while, something that was previously unthinkable.

Charlotte’s formulation isn’t destined for a store nor does it aid Beiersdorf’s bottom line, but its impact is much more meaningful.

Looking for new ingredients for your next sun care launch? See our directory of components below. 

Pressure Points
Early into 2023, the sun care category remains mired in recalls and litigation.

In January, Edgewell Personal Care Company expanded its voluntary nationwide recall of three batches of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30. One additional batch has been added to the original recall announced on July 29, 2022. The review found that some samples of the product contained trace levels of benzene; the unexpected levels came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can.

Benzene in sunscreen has plagued several brands (and other personal care products) when testing revealed the extraneous component in aerosol format products, as previously reported by Happi. Valisure, the lab behind several FDA Citizen Petitions for benzene that have led to much of the litigation, has itself come under the microscope of late (see Happi.com for more).

Nevertheless, sun care companies have settled lawsuits. For example, in January, a judge issued final approval of a settlement in a class action lawsuit against Bayer HealthCare LLC and Beiersdorf, Inc. involving spray sunscreen products.

Last month, Christian Dior was named in a proposed class action lawsuit in which a plaintiff seeks redress for “deceptive and unlawful practices in labeling and marketing” related to two foundation products that make “24 HR” claims in conjunction with SPF claims. The class action complaint was filed on Jan. 27, 2023 in the Northern District of California. The 25-page filing cited Dior Forever Foundation and Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation.

The plaintiff argues that reasonable consumers  would believe the products provide 24-hour coverage, including the SPF protection, without the need to reapply. The plaintiff notes that while the Dior products’ secondary packaging label directs users to “reapply at least every 2 hours,” plaintiffs say the instructions are not on the bottles themselves, and as such, most consumers would not see the message before throwing away the packaging. 

New Sun Care Ingredients
Below is a list of new ingredients for sun care formulations.
For more information on the ingredients listed, please contact the company directly.

Florham Park, NJ
[email protected]

INCI: Zinc Oxide (and) Coco-Caprylate/Caprate (and) Polyglycerol-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate (and) Lecithin
Applications: Sunscreen lotion, cream, stick, serum
Use level: Up to 33.3% (25% active level)
Description: Z-Cote Sheer, is a naturally derived liquid dispersion with an active load of 75% Zinc Oxide. This highly effective, inorganic, broad-spectrum UV filter has excellent photostability and allows for the creation of lightweight formulas that protect the skin. Z-Cote Sheer offers a low-whitening effect, so it’s applicable for a wide range of sun and skin care applications, including daily wear products for a wide range of skin tones. With its ease of use and high compatibility, Z-Cote Sheer offers excellent flexibility for formulators and works in harmony with other natural ingredients.

Coast Southwest
Arlington, TX 
[email protected]

INCI: Acrylates/C12-22 Alkylmethacrylate Copolymer
Applications: Sun care spray, sun care lotion, skin care cream, skin care lotion
Use level: 0.5-2.0%
Description: Endicare OPT-1 is an easy-to-use liquid, waterproofing polymer for skin care, sun care, and color cosmetic formulations. Offers long-lasting water resistance. Especially well-suited for low viscosity formulations such as sprays, including continuous sprays. Does not contain parabens or isothiazolinone preservatives.

INCI: Polyethyloxazoline
Applicatios: Sun care spray, sun care lotion, skin care cream, skin care lotion; peel-off face masques, color cosmetics.
Use level: 2-10%
Description: Endicare SC-530 is a water-soluble, film-forming polymer in easy-to-use liquid form. An economical alternative to Polyvinyl Pyrrolidone (PVP), PVP-derivatives, Polyvinyl Alcohol (PV)H), and VP/Eicosene Copolymer in sun care and skincare formulations, it imparts long wear, flexibility, good adhesion and moisture barrier properties, making it an ideal multi-functional additive.

DSM Personal Care
Parsippany, NJ
[email protected]

INCI (active):  Scenedesmus rubescens Extract
Applications: Sunscreens, day and night creams
Use level: 3%
Description: Pepha-Age CB stimulate skin’s own defense against the negative impact of blue light and UV, protecting the skin barrier, capturing free radicals, and boosting collagen synthesis. New outstanding in-vivo study results showed Pepha-Age CB reduces immediately and strongly skin hyper pigmentation and irritation after blue light exposure and restores an even skin tone.

Radnor, PA
[email protected]

INCI: Diisostearoyl Polyglyceryl-3 Dimer Dilinoleate (and) Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Applications: Sun lotion, cream, spray, stick, after-sun product, hair care and styling
Use level: 0.5-3.0% as supplied
Description: Solamaze Natural is a novel, bio-based, biodegradable film-forming polymer that offers superior water resistance and pleasing aesthetics for high SPF emulsion sunscreens. Solamaze Natural is globally approved and was developed to maintain the performance of leading synthetic polymers while reducing the persistence in the environment.

INCI: Nordeum Vulgare Powder
Applications: Sun lotion, cream, spray, stick, after-sun product, hair care and styling
Use level: 0.5-5.0%
Description: Amaze Nordic Barley is a 100% natural, unmodified, COSMOS approved starch ideal for skin, sun and hair care formulations as well as color cosmetics. It has excellent microbial purity and so is produced without the requirement for irradiation or other treatments.

Shin-Etsu Silicones of America
Akron, OH
330-630-9860, 800-544-1745

INCI: Isododecane (and) PEG 15/Lauryl Dimethicone Crosspolymer
Use level: 1-10%
Applications: Skin lotions and creams, Anti-aging products; Sun care sprays, gels, lotions, creams, self-tanners
Description: Shin-Etsu Silicones’ KSG-320 is a self-emulsifying elastomer gels in isododecane. Owing to the great compatibility with UV filters, KSG-320 is ideal to formulate and stabilize anhydrous sun screens. The active elastomer gel has an innovative and unique 3D structure that the silicone polymer network is crosslinked with polyether groups and additionally with grafted alkyl (C12) groups. The product is designed to be a broad spectrum emulsifier for both water-in-silicone and water-in-oil emulsions. It can stabilize emulsions with internal phase ranging from low to ultra-high. Co-emulsifier(s) is optional for emulsion particle size control and optimization. KSG-320 is made with a proprietary process with essentially no odor. KSG-320 is designed to be versatile, easy to use, and to create formulations with an array of textures and formats. The formulated products are exceptional in skin feel. It is particularly useful for w/o sunscreens because of the non-greasy skin feel, water-resistancy and durability. Ambient process is the norm when ingredients do not require heat. Low energy process is preferred provided there is good mixing; low energy homogenization is acceptable but not necessary.

INCI: Coco-Caprylate/Caprate (&) Vinyl Dimethicone/Lauryl Dimethicone Crosspolymer
Use level: Emulsions-3-25%m Anhydrous-15-90%
Applications: Active skin care products; Anti-aging products; Sun care lotions, creams, sprays, self-tanners
Description:: X-22-7055 is a C12 alkyl modified elastomer gel swollen in a carrier derived from coconut oil. The product has a broad spectrum of compatibility with various organic carriers. It is designed to be a multi-functional sensory enhancer with an exceptional dry, cushiony, silky, smooth feel with no residue. The elastomer gel compatible with organic/natural formulation ingredients and chemical UV filters, therefore ideal to formulate anhydrous sun screens. Additionally, X-25-7055 is an effective thickener for esters, and natural organic oils. When added to the oil phase, it helps to stabilize both w/o and o/w emulsions.

INCI: Undecane (&) Dimethicone/Vinyldimethicone Crosspolymer and Tridecane
Use level: Emulsions-3-25%; Anhydrous-15-90%; Hair products-1-30%
Applications: Skin lotions and creams; Anti-aging products; Sun care lotions, creams, sprays, self-tanners; Cosmetic foundations
Description: USG-1011 is an elastomer gel swollen in naturally derived alkanes. It is a multi-functional sensory enhancer with an exceptional dry, silky, smooth feel with no residue. The product is designed to be an effective thickener in various silicone and natural organic oils. When added to the oil phase, it helps to stabilize both w/o and o/w emulsions. The product eliminates or reduces shine in sunscreens.

SurfaTech Corporation
Lawrenceville, GA
[email protected]

INCI: Bis-octyldodecyl Dimer Dilinoleate/Propanediol Copolymer
Applications: Sun lotion, cream, spray, stick
Use level: 3.00-6.00%
Description: Our natural based, ecofriendly, CosmoSurf DDG-20 provides multi-functional performance as a primary dispersant for mineral sun care formulations while also providing 80-minute emersion, very water-resistant claims. CosmoSurf DDG-20 will deliver a soft silky spread that is ideal for SPF facial care products that is ideal in replacing traditional synthetic ingredients.

INCI: Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides
Applications: Sun lotion, cream, spray, stick
Use level: 5.00-10.00%
Description: SurfaCare S, a new oil gelling agent, designed to offer exceptional thickening properties for anhydrous and emulsion-based formulations requiring enhanced stabilizing attributes without compromising the desired sensory profile. SurfaCare S will allow the formulator the benefit of reducing their dependency on traditional wax ingredients, delivering a soft, silky texture.

Warren, NJ
[email protected]

INCI: Zinc oxide (and) Stearic Acid
Use level: 1-10%
Description: SUNZnO-200SA is the world’s first non-nano rod-shaped zinc oxide, surface treated with natural stearic acid. It is Cosmos compliant and RSPO MB certified. The rod-shaped technology improves the coverage of zinc oxide with less agglomeration. Therefore SUNZnO-200SA provides a more creamy feeling, better transparency and better UV performance. 

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