SkinCare Ingredients 2015

The importance of applying a sunscreen properly on product efficacy


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The importance of applying a sunscreen properly on product efficacy

Related tags Sunscreen

In the lab the product may pass all the tests, but if it is not applied properly then this could be irrelevant, meaning the spreadability of a product can be very important to its efficacy.

On a different level, the way a product feels when applied to the skin will also affect how the consumer uses it and whether they will apply it again, regularly, which in sunscreen’s case, is kind of the point.

According to Dr Marc Pissavini, Coty’s Basic & Applied Research Director, one of the challenges manufacturers face is meeting the need for an efficient (SPF 30) product but it needs to have a good sensorial feel and spread well when applied.

“It is important to provide a product that spreads well. The next step is to have a sunscreen that is a pleasure to use. If this is the case, consumers will apply it throughout the day,”​ he tells

Of course, Pissavini says that the photo-protection of a product and its efficacy is of great importance, and that is what manufacturers strive for, but this needs to be accompanied by close attention to cosmetic or galenic attributes so that the improved UV-absorbing properties of the products are translated to the user.

“Clearly the galenic, or cosmetic, properties of sunscreens are important in determining the protection experienced by consumers during normal usage, which translates into the health consequences of sunscreen use,”​ he continues.

The galenic properties can also make it possible to adapt the formulation to different consumer preferences, such as mists, sprays, gels and milks etc.


As with many skin care products, the way a product is applied will ultimately affect its efficacy. If the product is difficult to spread then the application area may not be fully covered and then it doesn’t matter how good the product performed in lab tests.

When sunscreens are tested in the laboratory to determine their SPF, great care is taken to achieve a uniform layer of sunscreen over the test area.

In practice, of course, nothing like this care is taken when sunscreen is applied to the skin, meaning there will be some areas of skin where there is little or no protection from the applied sunscreen, which can result in sunburn, says Pissavini.

SkinCare Ingredients 2015

Marc will be discussing sunscreen application, spreadability and its importance on product efficacy, at the upcoming SkinCare Ingredients 2015 online event.

The session will look at how these products can be formulated ensuring that the product can be spread easily and evenly and still be effective; and how important this is.

The event takes place on Wednesday 24 June, 2015. For more information and to register for free, please click here.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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