Sun care innovation: tough challenges, tremendous rewards


The science of sun protection perfectly intersects the worlds of health and beauty. If the most effective sun care product is the one actually used, then we can agree that sunscreens must be not only safe, but clean and sensorially pleasant.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Further, experiencing five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20 increases one’s melanoma risk by 80% and nonmelanoma skin cancer risk by 68%. Beauty consumers are also concerned about photoaging, a direct result of cumulative sun damage, which accounts for around 90% of visible changes on the skin.

The global demand for sun care products is growing and sun care innovation is critical— yet such innovation requires significant R&D investment and problem-solving.

Innovation Challenge #1: Regulation:

UV filters, the key to any sun care formulation, are strictly regulated in most markets when it comes to type, dosage and combination. All these constraints and changes pose a challenge for sunscreen producers who need to stay away from concerning UV filters, while still obtaining desired SPF/PFA results.

Innovation Challenge #2: Formulation

For sun care formulations, SPF/PFA performance, stability and sensory are all important criteria. In the presence of high dosage crystalline organic UV filters or mineral UV filters, meeting the stability requirement is often a headache for even experienced formulators.

When it comes to sun care functionality and aesthetics, a study of 249 US sunscreen consumers, conducted by an independent consulting firm, revealed their top 3 pain points: 1. greasiness; 2. incomplete coverage (related to spreadability); and 3. short-lived protection.

At Hallstar, we have dedicated extensive resources to building a sophisticated sun care solutions platform for our customers, with a large number of ready-to-go formulations (both daily wear and bench wear prototypes), along with custom formulation capabilities. The following Hallstar Beauty formulations are excellent examples of our approach to clean, effective, safe sun care. Click the links for formula details:

Innovation Challenge #3: Testing

To commercially launch a sunscreen product in most countries, a manufacturer needs to conduct in vivo tests to determine SPF and related PFA numbers before including claims on packaging. It is widely known that in vivo tests are not easily reproducible and repeated tests are often needed to arrive at the desired results— consuming both time and cost. The more common in vitro test requires significant training in the finger-rubbing technique. The lack of clear and precise performance measurement standards significantly hinders the pace of sun care innovation.

Innovation Challenge #4: Marketing

Most consumers rely on a product’s displayed SPF number to give them some idea of its efficacy. Without clear quality indicators or application guidance, they often rely on advertising or opinion leaders to tell them which sunscreen might be better. Building a successful brand requires empowering consumers with photoprotection knowledge that can cut through empty claims. 

As the beauty industry trends toward greener formulation, innovative sun care will balance clean ingredients with the need for sun protection efficacy and elegance. Hallstar’s patented photostabilization technology is central to tackling the innovation challenges of clean sun care. Combined ​biomimetic naturals, it is the best way to "greenify" your photoprotection package. (View our sun care video to learn more about photostabilization at Hallstar.)

Would you like samples of the two sunscreen formulations described above? Share your contact information and Hallstar Beauty will be happy to mail them to you.

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