The sunscreen category garnered an estimated $735 million in sales in 2011 and is expected to grow to $1.1 billion by 2016.
The scent of sunscreen means summer has arrived as much as burgers on the grill or fresh-cut grass do.
But choosing which sunscreen is most appropriate for watching over those burgers or while mowing the lawn can be a bit challenging. Food and Drug Administration requirements on labeling and a few key marketing words will give shoppers an easy shorthand to identify which products are right for them.
By Dec. 17, sunscreen products including creams, lotions and sprays will need to comply with three basic labeling requirements. The first says products that either don’t provide broad-spectrum protection, which is protection from ultraviolet light Types A and B, or are broad spectrum with an SPF less than 15, will need to carry a warning that reads: Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. The product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.
Water-resistant products will need to state how long a user will get the SPF protection while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Only 40 or 80 minutes will be permitted on labels.
In addition, products will no longer be able to bear the words waterproof, sweatproof or sunblock and companies will need prior approval from the FDA to state that their products provide either immediate protection or protection for more than two hours.
More changes may be on the horizon as research is being done on whether SPFs higher than 50 provide any additional protection or if products should instead be labeled as SPF 50+.
The requirements will have a sizable impact on a category that Mintel estimates was worth $735 million in sales in 2011 and expects to grow to $1.1 billion by 2016. Especially since consumers who want to avoid skin cancer are among those driving sales.
Dennis Curtain, director of public relations for Weis Markets, Sunbury, Pa., said the skin cancer warnings wouldn’t apply to best-sellers such as sport sunscreens with SPFs in the 30s, baby sunscreens with SPF 50 and aloe vera, but that warnings on lower SPF products could steer shoppers toward higher coverage sunscreens.