The sunscreen market is crowded with lotions and sprays, powders and lip balms, and, increasingly, multitasking products with inventive application methods that are touted for their ability to do more than just block the UVA and UVB rays that lead to sunburns, skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.
Indeed, many of the season's new sun care products were designed to marry broad-spectrum sun protection with anti-aging compounds, moisturizers, makeup — even self tanners.
"The world of sun care has changed. It used to be enough that you just had an SPF product. You were going to the beach or pool and you knew you needed sun protection. But sun damage happens every day, so we're looking for more out of our formulas," said Holly Thaggard. She is owner and founder of Supergoop in San Antonio, Texas, a maker of broad-spectrum sunscreens that incorporate antiaging compounds in formulas that are free of parabens, fragrance, oxybenzone and other chemicals common to mass-market brands.
Earlier this month, Supergoop (sold at Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy's and other retailers) introduced a broad-spectrum 20 SPF sunscreen and self tanner that works gradually and doesn't rub off on clothes or towels. In February, the company also introduced a lightweight 30 SPF serum for the face that absorbs quickly and doesn't look or feel greasy.
"The whole idea is to get away from the lifeguard, white-nose look. Everyone wants it very transparent," said Chris Birchby, founder of COOLA, an Oceanside, Calif., company that makes certified organic, chemical-free, broad-spectrum sunscreens. Among COOLA's offerings is a matte-finish tinted sunscreen for the face that is incredibly lightweight.
COOLA products are made with zinc and titanium, which work by reflecting sunlight, but the particles are encapsulated and coated to make them disperse more equally and, therefore, more transparently, said Birchby.
If the best sunscreen is the sunscreen people will use, multitasking products that are easy to apply and fold into busy lives may offer a solution.
"I have three kids and a hairy husband, and getting lotion on them is a major hassle," said Valerie McMurray, founder of Soleil Organique, in Bronxville, N.Y., which this year launched a broad-spectrum 45 SPF sunblock mist that also includes antiaging ingredients such as red algae and the anti-inflammatory Bisabolol. She chose a mister instead of an aerosol spray because it lessens the inhalation risk, she said, and is easier for the user to know the skin is adequately covered because it needs to be rubbed in.