The damage caused by sun worshipping has created sun preparation products that couple skincare and self-tan

Suncare has traditionally been viewed as a subsector of skincare, but the boundaries are blurring. Johnson's, for example, now markets its Holiday Skin range of general moisturising products with added tanning ingredients, while traditional sun prep products have headed down the skincare route, combining protection with moisturising, firming and anti-ageing benefits.

Suppliers see this as a way of adding much-needed value to a market that already performed well the previous year, up in value by 13.2%, according to TNS [52 w/e January 29, 2006]. L'Oréal markets the Solar Expertise range based on ultra-protection and skin-repairing Activa-Cell technology, while the Calypso brand has been extended with a Sun Burn Relief Anti-Irritant Spray. This contains Iricalmin, an ingredient that the company claims helps to "restore the skin's lipid layer".

Over the past few years, sun health promotion campaigns have boosted sales of higher SPF products. According to Mintel, SPF15 remains the bestselling sunscreen, although protection up to SPF60+ is now also available and selling well. SPF30+ sunscreens have grown at more than twice the sector average since 2001 and sunscreens with SPFs of 21 or more now account for more than 40% of sales, adds Mintel.

As a result, high factor sun preps are a core part of most suppliers' portfolios. Launches this year include Ambre Solaire's Kids' Sprays and Milks (in SPF25 and 40), Nivea Sun's adult and children's lotions in SPF30 and 50+ ultra protection, and Malibu's lotion spray in SPF25 and High Protection SPF20 lipcare stick. Lavera, which produces suncare products from natural ingredients, also produces a SPF40 sun milk made especially for allergy sufferers.

Yet, campaigners' efforts to make sun prep use part of the average Briton's daily skincare regime have failed, with the majority of UK consumers still using such products only when on holiday abroad. As Mintel notes: "The 'pale is beautiful' idea has failed to catch on and bronzed skin remains highly fashionable and sought after."

Mintel believes that this notion is behind the growth in the self-tanning products, a subsector which it says recorded 10% growth between 2004-05, and now accounts for 9% of the total suncare market by value. New products from Hawaiian Tropic include a Coconut Self Tanning Spray.

However, Linco Care, which markets the Calypso range, predicts that such growth will be difficult to sustain in the long term. Ken Beck, marketing and sales manager, believes there is more potential in the emerging protective tanning products sector, which accommodates products such as Carrot Oil with SPF protection.

Lotions and sun milks remain at the core of the sun protection sector, claiming 60% of value sales. But they are losing share, particularly to sprays, which now account for 22% of sun protection sales. Manufacturers are developing new formats, such as roll-ons, mousses, gels and wipes, to crack the messy application problem. Malibu for example, has introduced sachet products in SPF20 and SPF15 Clear Dry Oil, while both the Nivea Sun and new Halo brands have opted for self-tan wipes.

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Focus on Summer Health (April 2006)