Sun protection: Is it time for a universal measure?

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Universal measure for sun protection
Although self-tanning and skin whitening trends differ in the East and the West, both eastern and western consumers are conscious of the impact of the sun and the importance of wearing sun protection.

SPF: A priority

The use of SPF products rose in 2016, Mintel reported, with 51% of those asked using sun protection with high SPF in the year to October 2016 compared with 45% in the year to August 2015.

Of those asked, 52% of respondents agreed that sun protection should be reapplied after being in the sun for 30 minutes. Despite an apparent solid understanding of general sun protection, suncare ratings are less understood.

“Although consumers show knowledge of protecting themselves from the sun, there is a lack of understanding when it comes to sun protection ratings,”​ said Roshida Khanom, Senior Beauty & Personal Care Analyst at Mintel.

Sunny weather perception

Up to 58% believe high SPF protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays. With sun protection typically associated with the appearance of visible sun and heat, 39% of non-buyers in the UK stated that holidaying anywhere sunny enough is a reason for not purchasing sun protection.

In addition, 23% said that it is not sunny enough in the UK to apply sun protection, suggesting low daily SPF usage.

The solution may, therefore lie in “introducing a simpler universal rating system, reflecting UVA and UVB protection and removing the need for language such as ‘multispectrum’ and ‘broad spectrum’ to ensure the usage of products reflects consumer needs”.

Confusing claims

The inclusion of technical terms that are not widely communicated via promotional language creates a gap in understanding, as consumer lack awareness and therefore have reduced confidence in purchasing sun care products.

When it comes to sun protection, the key may be to produce a universal measure that all brands can adhere to and promote in marketing campaigns.

“With the usage of sun protection associated with sunny climates, a ratings system that correlates with the weather or sunshine level can be used to encourage the use of sun care on a more universal level,”​ Khanom added.

In Indonesia, for example, although sales in the sun care industry increased slightly in 2015, projections by Euromonitor International indicate that this figure is set to increase strongly”​.

Confident campaigns

Media publicity that emphasises the damaging effects of the harmful rays of the sun has heightened concerns regarding harm from the sun, as well as increased consumer awareness of these dangers in various countries including Indonesia and New Zealand.

The market intelligence company also stated that consumers in Indonesia perceive fair skin as being synonymous with beauty, which has also led to a surge in sun care product purchasing to avoid tanning.

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