The National Cancer Institute has recently reported a rise in skin cancer rates in the US, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborates this finding, having recently reported that approximately 4.3 million people are treated for basal or squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer, every year in the United States.
According to a recent survey conducted in the US by market research firm Statista, 38% of respondents of all genders between the ages of 18 and 34 confirmed they always use sunscreen outside their homes. The US Food and Drug Administration recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher outside, even on cloudy days.
Therefore, the US cosmetics and personal care product industries assume some responsibility for making a wide range of sunscreen products available to consumers to help protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays that cause sun damage and its potentially deadly effects. To make sunscreen even more readily accessible, US-based company Larkly has recently released an innovative mineral-based powder sunscreen for consumers seeking to protect themselves from sun damage better.
To learn more about the development of their powder-based sunscreen and its potential impact on the cosmetics and personal care industries, CosmeticsDesign spoke with Kerri Faber, Co-Founder of Larkly, to learn more about the product. Faber has worked with researchers to formulate a physical sunscreen containing FDA-approved active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to produce a product that can be applied with the included applicator brush like a setting powder or blush. The powdered sunscreen offers SPF 30 level UVA/UVB protection with environmentally sustainable refillable packaging.
Powder versus cream formulation
Chemical (usually cream-based) sunscreens are the more commonly used option by most consumers, but there are essential distinctions between these products and physical (mineral-based) alternatives. "The key difference between the two formulas is how they block rays," explained Faber. "Physical (mineral) sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and act as a shield, while chemical sunscreens, usually cream formulations, sink into the skin and act more like a sponge."
While "powder sunscreen and cream options both require the same base ingredients," she further stated, they "are composed in different ways." As a result, the mineral-based powder formulation does not require the potentially harsh synthetic chemicals needed to produce cream-based options, "and because they aren't absorbed into the skin, they're safer for sensitive skin," Faber elaborated. This means mineral-based sunscreens are naturally "less likely to cause skin irritation, unlike their chemical counterparts."
Benefits of powder sunscreen
A mineral-based powder sunscreen formulation offers a few benefits over cream-based alternatives and solutions for issues related to cream-based formulations. One of the most important aspects of practicing proper sunscreen use is reapplication, as sunscreen can easily be sweated off during heavy physical activity or washed away during activities in water like swimming. Powder-based mineral sunscreen can be reapplied quickly and readily, and as it sits on top of the skin rather than being absorbed, it is effectively faster than cream-based options requiring absorption.
Additionally, Larkly's powder sunscreen formulation is claimed to be more environmentally sustainable than some other cream-based options currently available in the US market, which is very attractive to consumers seeking environmentally friendly options. The product is offered with a "refillable option so consumers can reuse our application brush again and again," said Faber. She further explained that "this can be more difficult with cream or lotions because of sanitary reasons," which is not a problem for a powder-based option.
Further, due to the sustainable preservative incorporated into the power-based sunscreen, this option "lasts longer than lotion or cream sunscreen options (around three to six months)." It also works well over makeup, a common issue for consumers using more traditional cream-based options.
The future of sun protection
As consumers become more aware of the potential dangers of long-term unprotected sun exposure on the skin and better educated about their options, the demand for alternatives to traditional cream-based chemical sunscreens will continue to rise. Similarly, consumers continue to loudly demand more natural options in cosmetics, leaving the market wide-open for products like Larkly's power-based mineral sunscreen.
"Powder sunscreen is very effective," concluded Faber, and "its purpose is to act as a protective barrier for a second layer on the skin." While many cosmetics products offer minimal SPF protection, it is typically outside the recommended FDA guidelines for adequate sun protection. With innovative options like Larkly's new product, it will be interesting to see if consumers gravitate away from more traditional cream-based options in favor of more natural, makeup-friendly, and sustainable products like this one in the coming months.