Patent Pick: L'Oréal Steps Up the Sunscreen Game


Sunscreens are considered over-the-counter (OTC) products in many regions, including the United States. As a result, sunscreen actives are regulated as drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has substantially limited the number of UV filters available and certain combinations thereof on the U.S. market.

In order to ensure sufficient consumer protection, sunscreen formulators tend to design products that protect against both UV-A and UV-B. They also aim for high SPF levels and UV-A ratings but with the given FDA limits on approved UV filters, the most common choices are narrowed to avobenzone, oxybenzone, octisalate, octocrylene and homosalate

Formulators are therefore challenged to simultaneously meet consumer needs and regulatory requirements. However, a new L'Oréal patent application describing a synergistic blend including a photostabilizer, SPF booster and two UV filters claims to meet both goals.

UV-A/UV-B sunscreen composition 
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/189301
Publication date: Nov. 2, 2017
Assignee: L'Oréal

According to these inventors, an unexpected synergistic effect was achieved by combining one or more photostabilizers having antioxidant properties, and one or more SPF boosters in certain proportions, with one or more UV-B and UV-A filters in a sunscreen composition. This composition may be used in sunscreens, self-tanners, makeup, lip balms, facial peels, moisturizers, anti-aging products and more.

In addition, the composition is essentially free of oxybenzone, which as many formulators know, has come under scrutiny by NGOs for allegedly disrupting coral reef habitats and disrupting human hormones. While these claims are unfounded, they nonetheless impact consumer perception.

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