The growth of sun care last summer followed two years of steep decline for the segment, with value sales rising 10.2% over the year as a whole on volumes up 10.5%, according to research firm Kantar.
The turnaround in sales seen in 2013 suggests consumers are already mobilizing as a result of greater risk awareness, which the new figures are likely to encourage further in the UK.
The new statistics
The new CRUK statistics state that over 13,000 people develop malignant melanomas each year in the UK, which is the most serious type of skin cancer. This is five times higher than the 1,800 recorded cases in the mid-1970s.
“We know overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer,” Nick Ormiston-Smith, head of statistics at CRUK, has said.
"This means, in many cases, the disease can be prevented, and is why it's essential to get into good sun safety habits, whether at home or abroad," he told the BBC.
In response to the new figures, Caroline Cerny, senior health campaigns manager at CRUK, publicly condoned the use of sunscreen with both UVB and UVA protection.
"When the sun is strong, pop on a T-shirt, spend some time in the shade and use a sunscreen with at least SPF15 and good UVA protection," she advised.
Segment specialist Dr Jack Ferguson explained to Cosmetics Design that while the UK is already fairly up to date with the latest in sun care protection, the rest of Europe could do with upping their game.
"The best that the consumer should do is to use a high factor and the highest possible UVA protection. In the UK this is easier as all the major retailers use an additional UVA grading system of 3 to 5 stars, whereas in the rest of Europe there is only a single pass grade for UVA which indicates that there is a minimum UVA to SPF of 1/3," he noted.
The sun care category is likely to benefit from the boost of consumer interest, especially at a time when it is under threat from new regulatory hurdles.
Speaking recently to Cosmetics Design, Ferguson suggested the barriers posed by last year’s marketing ban on animal tested products and strict toxicological regulation restraints mean “new sun screens coming in will have a very tricky time”.
The animal testing ban “is a stumbling block that will prevent advancement and improvements in sun protection unless we have major movement in alternative tests, or the cosmetic classification of sun products change,” the industry expert predicted.
Consumer demand for the category may encourage necessary support for the promotion of testing alternatives.