Unexpected Suncare

Gattefossé has applied its sensory and formulation expertise to suncare to meet consumer expectations and provide UV protection that is a pleasure to use.

The sun, our favorite “frenemy”

fingers holding sun

The sun is necessary to life. It induces positive effects such as the promotion of vitamin D synthesis, melatonin synthesis which helps maintain the biological rhythms, and it has also been proven to positively influence the mood by promoting release of endorphins.

But the sun exposure brings also some negative short and long-term effects to the organism. The most known and visible one, sunburn, is linked to UVB. Shortly after exposure, reactional acne, summer Lucitis, or photosensitization can appear. In addition, it is also well known that repeated sun (and especially UVA) exposure can lead to photo aging associated symptoms such as dark spots, wrinkles, elastosis, and ultimately skin cancer.

The risks associated with sun exposure are therefore important enough to privilege proper protection from its rays.

What is photoprotection?

Photoprotection is ensured by suncare products, which are characterized by 3 distinct elements:

  • The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, which indicates the product’s level of protection towards UVB rays;
  • The UVA performance, which is not evaluated in the same way depending on the area. In Europe, UVA performance should be at least 1/3 of the SPF, while in the UK, there is a specific evaluation system called BOOTS star rating. And in Asia, it is rated between PA+ and PA++++, from 2 to 16. On the contrary, it is not required in the US;
  • The broad spectrum performance, which is only mandatory in the US.

To bring an efficient photoprotection to the skin, suncare products contain UV filters. These particular cosmetic ingredients are divided into 2 categories:

  • Organic UV filters: this heterogenous group of complex molecules, in liquid or powder form, hydrophilic or lipophilic, bring UVA and/or UVB protection. They work by absorbing the UV rays at the skin surface, preventing their penetration.
  • Inorganic UV filters: these powders can be used already predispersed or not. There is only 2 of them: titanium dioxide, which protects against UVB, and zinc oxide, with broad spectrum efficacy. They work by reflecting UV rays at the skin surface or scattering them. During scattering, a particle will disperse the UV rays it receives onto those around, which will do the same, reducing the intensity of the rays.

But adding UV filters in a cosmetic formulation brings a lot of problems…

Performance first

The first objective of a suncare product is to be efficient. Organic and inorganic UV filters need to be carefully formulated to ensure an effective protection against UV rays.

If organic UV filters are used, the first thing to think of is proper solubilization. Each organic UV filter has a specific solubilizer. It is therefore necessary to identify the best combination by consulting the UV filter supplier’s documentation and then doing some experimental lab work (visual test, microscopy).

If inorganic UV filters are chosen, ensuring their good dispersion is crucial. For this, the use of a dispersing or wetting agent is necessary. Coated grades facilitate the compatibility, the dispersibility and the sensoriality of the UV filters.

Another tip is to combine organic and inorganic UV filters. The resulting synergy effect will increase the final SPF of the formula.

The use of other ingredients can help:

  • SPF boosters: increase the final SPF without increasing the total amount of UV filters in the formula
  • Photostabilizers: maintain UV filters performance after UV radiation

Finally, it is important to create a homogeneous film at the skin surface by choosing the right gelling agents and adding a film former.

Stability challenge

Stability is always a challenge for cosmetic products, and especially for suncare products because of UV filters. Fluid and sprayable ones are particularly difficult to stabilize.

The first thing to check is the packaging that will be used. Viscosity drop at high temperature (especially for beach products) can be a problem if the packaging is not adapted. Moreover, W/O formulas sometimes interact with some materials, leading to instabilities.

The choice of the right gelling system is primordial to guarantee a perfect stability. It depends again on the packaging used, but some gums may increase stability at high temperature.

Finally, the type of emulsions (W/O or O/W) and emulsifier play a key role in the formula stability. Depending on the type of UV filters used and the other ingredients of the formula, the emulsifier is more or less compatible and may no longer fulfil its emulsifying function.

Sensoriality is key

Sensory image

Sensoriality is not only essential to ensure a second purchase, but above all it favors regular application and proper skin protection. In sunscreens, organic and inorganic UV filters present sensorial disadvantages to overcome.

Organic UV filters bring greasiness, shine, tackiness, and a high film residue to final formulas. These drawbacks can be balanced by using powders, adding alcohol, adapting the emollients and feeling agents and using SPF boosters to reduce the total amount of UV filters and the quantity of oils.

Inorganic UV filters, on the other hand, increase formula dryness, roughness, and whitening effect if they are non-nano. Adapting the emollients and feeling agents improves the formulation afterfeel. As the emulsifying system impacts the product’s sensoriality, changing the emulsifier can also be a solution. Reducing the filters’ particle size or tinting the formula can counteract the whitening effect.

Gattefossé suncare expertise

Gattefossé’s ingredients for unexpected suncare products

Gattefossé has developed texture ingredients that respond to the major issues encountered in the formulation of suncare products: performance, stability, and sensoriality.

Thumbnail Image Emulium Illustro

Emulium® Illustro, a W/O emulsifier, has proven its compatibility with organic, mineral UV filters and SPF boosters and creates stable formulations with a comfortable feel.     

Emulium® Dermolea MB, an O/W emulsifier, is multi-functional as it can create from spray to thick butters. Designed for sensitive skin, this ingredients enables the creation of suncare products with a light residual film and non-greasy afterfeel. It has been highly substantiated, a good choice to create suncare formulas adapted to senstive skin and vegan skincare ranges.

Thumbnail Image Emulium Dermolea MB
Thumbnail Image Emulium Dolcea MB

Emulium® Dolcea MB, an O/W emulsifier, creates stable textures with an ultra-soft and non-tacky afterfeelIn addition to its biodegradable nature, its moisturizing properties will benefit any sunscreen products.

Emulium® Mellifera MB is another O/W emulsifier that makes it possible to formulate suncare products with a light and non-greasy finish. Its capacity to auto-adapt to climates and its many different claims make it a perfect emulsifier for suncare applications with skincare benefits.

Thumbnail Emullium Melifera MB
Thumbnail Emulfree CBG

Emulfree® CBG MB creates surfactant-free system with water resistance. The bi-gel technology enables the formulation of ultra-light quick-break textures, for suprizing suncare formulas with a "WOW" effect.

Finally, Acticire® MB is an active texturizing agent that improves sensoriality of suncare products by reducing the greasy and tacky afterfeel. It also improves durability of the protective film on the skin, as observed with the UV camera.

Thumbnail Acticire MB

Selection of suncare formulas for all situations and needs

Gattefossé’s application lab has been working on new formulations, with very different sensory profiles and containing organic UV filters, mineral or a combination of both, to meet all expectations in terms of photo-protection.

Find out more about these formulas their ingredients in our booklet:

SPF50-50+ formulas:

Mineral Shield SPF50

Sensitive and sun-intolerant skin deserves effective and sensorial UV protection too! Formulated with Emulium® Illustro, this sunscreen is neither sticky nor greasy on the skin. It is easy to apply and gives the skin a sunshine glow thanks to Gatuline® Radiance.

Dry Touch Lotion SPF50

Perfectly adapted for beach or daily use, this suncare lotion SPF50 formulated with Emulium® Mellifera MB spreads easily and penetrates very quickly into the skin. It leaves a very light and dry feel, as if no product had been applied.

High Protection Lotion SPF50

This very high protection SPF50 is the best ally for sun-sensitive skin, whether in the city or at the beach.
Thanks to Emulium© Dolcea MB, the texture is fluid, soft and comfortable and leaves a very smooth, non-greasy and non-sticky afterfeel.

Powdery Stick SPF50+

Some body areas are particularly prone to UV damage and deserve a foolproof sun protection: nose, cheekbones, scars, tattoos... This anhydrous sun stick is ideal due to its targeted application and its SPF50+. Once applied, it leaves a dry and powdery finish.

Fluid Body Lotion SPF50

This SPF50 Lotion is the perfect texture for body application without any sticky feel. Due to its low viscosity, this formula is super easy to spread on the skin. As every suncare formulation with chemical UV filters only, the oil phase is quite important in the formula. However, 4% of Emulium® Dermolea MB is sufficient to emulsify this oil phase without co-emulsifier.

Invisible Radiant Shield SPF50

Skin is radiant and moisturized with this highly protective sunscreen that contains Gatuline® RC Bio and Gatuline® Radiance, two clinically evaluated actives. The emulsifier, Emulium® Dermolea MB, provides ideal lightness upon application, despite the high UV protection, and is perfect for sensitive skin.

SPF20-30 formulas:

Extremely Soft Protection SPF30

This SPF30 sunscreen doesn't look to be! Thanks to Emulium® Dolcea MB, the texture is soft and comfortable and leaves a very smooth, non-greasy and non-sticky afterfeel. It can be used for daily care or for the beach.

Refresh & Protect Bi-Gel SPF30

Refresh and protect your skin with this sprayable suncare lotion. Thanks to Emulfree® CBG MB and its bi-gel technology, the formula is very fluid and refreshing during application and brings comfort without any greasy nor tacky afterfeel.

Daily Shield SPF20

This daily care is perfect to protect the skin from UV rays without worry. Its comfortable yet fluid texture penetrates quickly and leaves a soft film on the skin, while Solastemis protects the skin from the harmfule effects of UVA and photo-aging.

Other formulations are available on demand. Do not hesitate to contact your Gattefossé’s sales representative for more information about these formulations or for any suncare development project to benefit from Gattefossé’s expertise.