Smart Sun Care and Labeling Changes are on the Horizon

Smart Sun Care and Labeling Changes are on the Horizon

Summer means fun in the sun for most, but it’s a hot business potential for sun care marketers. As the 2012 summer season gets underway, people are planning vacations, spending more time outdoors, and buying more sun care products. Meanwhile, formulators of sunscreens are working to design more appealing products to satisfy consumers–some with exciting new ingredients–and a number of impending changes have been brewing behind the scenes in government offices.

The much-talked about changes in the FDA legislation on sunscreen product labeling have been postponed again from taking effect. These regulatory changes have been debated at the FDA since 1978 and are finally supposed to be enforced in 2012. What was slated for a summer 2012 deadline has now been pushed back to December 2012 for most companies, while small companies get another year to comply. Some of the changes include:

  • Banned terms: Manufacturers cannot label sunscreens as “waterproof” or “sweatproof” or identify their products as “sunblocks.”
  • Max SPF: The maximum SPF that can be claimed is 50+ as the FDA says that there is not compelling evidence that higher numbers offer more protection.
  • Broad spectrum restrictions: Only sunscreens that pass FDA’s broad spectrum test procedure, which measures a product’s UVA protection relative to its UVB protection by way of the Critical Wave Length Test, may be labeled as “Broad Spectrum SPF [value]” on the front label.
  • Cancer and aging prevention: Only Broad Spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value of 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.

Kline foresees that while the new label requirement will eventually help consumers have less confusion about what sun care products will and will not do, initially many people will delay purchasing products while they search in vain for that SPF 70 they previously relied upon.

Meanwhile, formulators of sunscreens are working to design more appealing products to satisfy consumers, with some using new ingredients. Formulators increasingly include active ingredients in their sun care products to provide them with an added benefit claim (anti-aging, soothing, anti-oxidants, etc.), together with the development of sun-activated delivery system, opens new areas for sun care products. Advanced technologies are allowing better sun protection, when it is actually needed. For example, SmartvectorUV CE from BASF is a “smart,” protective microsphere made of marine DNA and filled with vitamin E and C derivatives. When exposed to UV radiation, it slowly releases its active ingredients.

While some consumer advocacy groups have become more vocal about the dangers of certain ingredients in popular sunscreens, formulators know that it is still quite difficult to formulate an effective sun screen that would be considered natural and not leave a white film on the skin.

For more information see Kline’s Cosmetics & Toiletries USA.

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