As a Southern California girl who loves to be outdoors, I get more than my fair share of sun exposure. And I love it; I mean I really, REALLY love it. So needless to say, I spend a good deal of money on sunscreen and have experimented with a lot of different brands and delivery systems.
In recent years, the growth of the sun care category has slowed, even with the heightened awareness of the dangers of sun exposure. This slowdown can be attributed to the meteoric rise of SPF infused BB and CC creams, and the fact that globally, consumers not only view sun care as seasonal, but they see it as having a specific function (unlike their expectation of facial skincare).
The Sunscreen Innovation Act, signed by President Obama late 2014, should help reignite the category by opening the door to new ingredients that may provide better protection against UVA rays. The expectation is that this legislation will breathe new life into the category, resulting in a new era of sunscreen formulation.
In the meantime, here are three innovations leading the way:
I established here that I’m on the ingestibles bandwagon, but I’ve yet to try my sun care in a supplement. That could soon change. Cyanotech is now marketing its dietary supplement BioAstin as a way to augment sun protection. The protection comes from the compound astaxanthin, an active ingredient in mircoalgae with extraordinary antioxidant properties.
Next up we have Osmosis skin care and their Harmonized Water UV Neutralizer. Described as the “world’s first drinkable sunscreen,” purified water is imprinted with vibrational scalar waves which isolate out the precise frequencies needed to neutralize UV rays. When ingested, they vibrate above the skin and cancel out approximately 97% of the UVA and UVB rays (similar to broad spectrum SPF 30 products). In 2014 it was clinically tested to prove its effectiveness – as you can imagine, there were many skeptics! The company describes the science as similar to how noise reduction headphones work, the water cancels out UV rays by delivering targeted wave patterns to the skin in the form of water. Water has the ability to carry cancellation waves indefinitely. This is the kind of innovation that really inspires me. You can bet I’ll be experimenting with this water (which seems to be out of stock) and reporting on the results!
Offering a way to take the guesswork out of sunscreen application, tools such as June, a sunlight-detecting bracelet, have recently been introduced. Created by Netatmo, the bracelet ($129) was designed as a piece of jewelry. It’s really pretty and comes with two band styles and your choice of three different jewel colors. It works by measuring the wearer’s sun exposure and then notifying their smartphone when it’s time to apply sunscreen. Check out their video here.
A more family friendly option is the Sundicators UV Wristbands and Stickers. The products change color when it’s time to reapply sunscreen and when it’s time to get out of the sun. They work wet or dry and are waterproof and recyclable.
As stated, multifunctional products like BB and CC creams are in, with most of them now featuring at least an SPF 15. And with the anti-aging segment driving skincare category growth, it makes sense that more and more skincare and cosmetic products will feature a SPF, reducing the need for traditional facial sun care. This shift challenges sun care brands to compete for the facial skincare and cosmetic consumer by expanding beyond the expected features and benefits. However, in contrast to skin care and cosmetics that are now expected to be multifunctional, consumers still view sun care as a one trick pony.
Some sun care brands that are changing the rules include Badger Company, which now offers a Tinted SPF 30 and Supergoop!, with their award winning Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50. This game-changing product sets makeup, controls oil AND delivers UV photo aging protection!
I’m grateful for these new and novel ways to be responsible about sun exposure. With skin cancer as the most common form of cancer in the US, this is clearly something that many of us (including me!!) need to take more seriously. With these innovations, we can enjoy the sun without the danger. Now I just need to figure out where to buy that vibrating water…