Exclusive Interview

UV filters: how to navigate the complex area of sunscreen formulation

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

UV filters: how to navigate the complex area of sunscreen formulation
With demand for natural solutions now reaching into sun care and rising consumer demands being seen for ever-greater functionality, never has the the segment faced a more challenging time when it comes to formulation.

Stéphanie Acker is the Technical Manager Sun Care at BASF Grenzach GmbH. In this exclusive interview, we discover the key challenges and opportunities facing sunscreen formulations and brands.

Where has the market got to with UV filter solutions?

Formulating sunscreens has become increasingly complex.

To be successful on the market, sun care products need to meet various requirements: a high SPF value and UVA protection, water resistance, photostability and certain sensory properties.

We are continually improving our broad portfolio of sun care ingredients to match consumers’ needs. Our latest addition to the sun care portfolio is Tinosorb® S Lite Aqua.

It brings broad-band UV protection to the water phase. This allows manufacturers to reduce the UV-filter load in the oil phase for more formulation flexibility and very light formulations. Distributing the UV filter load between the oil and water phase boosts the SPF and UV-A protection factor.

In addition, like all our innovative UV filters, Tinosorb® S Lite Aqua combines high absorption performance with photostability.

What major trends are driving innovation in the UV filter segment?

We are constantly looking for improved sensory features, efficient suppression of radical formation and higher environmental compatibility.

Balanced sun protection is in high demand. This means the right sun protection for every day: from low SPF products for short sun exposures in the morning or evening, to products with very high SPF for high intensity light or longer stays in the sun.

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing formulators when it comes to UV, and how can ingredients players respond?

The sensory experience plays a huge role. Consumers are increasingly looking for effective sun protection combined with a light touch, feeling almost like water, during and after application.

This result is not easy to achieve, as formulators need to raise the UV filter load in order to increase the SPF value. Very often, this leads to oily or greasy formulations.

Therefore, the right UV filter combination is crucial to achieving effective results.

BASF offers the broadest portfolio of UV filters in the market and a wide range of emollients and emulsifiers that pave the way for formulations with pleasant sensory properties meeting the consumers’ demand.

Where are we likely to see innovation in UV filters moving forward?

We are constantly taking the pulse of the market and monitoring trends in different regions.

Lately the positive effects of UV light have captured a lot of attention, like the production of vitamin D and the range of feel-good hormones that the human skin only produces when it is exposed to the sun.

However, the importance of UV protection cannot be overstated.

SPF levels must meet climatic conditions and, at the same time, allow the right balance of protection and exposure.

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