Launching “clean” products can be difficult without a standard definition. The lack of common guidance interferes with formulators’ efforts to connect consumers with brand’s safe, clean products. The importance of an established definition of “clean” is particularly high in suncare, where products frequently receive scrutiny for lack of sufficient SPF, safety issues, and environmental protection problems. To make it easier to discuss clean SPF, Aprinnova joined Mintel to define the pillars of clean sun protection during “The Rise of Clean Sun Protection: LIVE” on August 17, 2021. Here are key takeaways from the session, specifically for defining clean suncare.

How Consumers Define Clean, According to Mintel

Clare Hennigan, the Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, noted that 42 percent of adults who purchase clean products buy them because they are safer than traditional products. Based on Mintel analysis of the current beauty landscape, Hennigan defined the key tenets of clean beauty as safety (via transparency), sustainability, inclusivity, and positive impact. For example, 36 percent believe they have higher quality ingredients, while 32 percent buy clean products because they believe they are better for the environment. In the context of suncare, 32 percent of adults who use skin protection products look for “clean” labeled products. For various reasons from safety to sustainability, consumers continue to appreciate and select products with clean beauty claims.

Aprinnova’s Four Consumer Pillars to Define Clean

John Toner, Director of Marketing and Innovation at Aprinnova, outlined four pillars of clean sun protection from an ingredient perspective to complement these consumer trends:

  • Safety is paramount for “clean” suncare with a preference for zinc oxide as the optimal UV filter. The FDA has expressed the need for additional data to support the safety and effectiveness of chemical sunscreens based on the recently proposed FDA monograph. In addition, calls from scientists to remove octocrylene-containing products have led to the need for brands to reformulate with mineral sunscreens.
  • Performance ensures that sun protection delivers on efficacious UVA and UVB protection. Beyond a minimum SPF of 30, products must also delight consumers, encouraging reapplication. In particular, sunscreens must be lightweight, non-whitening, and easy to spread.
  • Sustainability minimizes repercussions on the environment. Using renewable sources for ingredient feedstocks, like Bonsucro-certified sugarcane, allows brands to speak to sustainability. Additionally, clean beauty should not include petrochemically derived ingredients.
  • Transparency provides consumers a crucial perspective into brands’ production processes. Clean ingredients should have sourcing certifications, such as Bonsucro’s chain of custody that ensures traceable sustainability claims along the sugarcane supply chain from farm to the end user.

What Is the Environmental Impact of Suncare and How Are Consumers Responding?

Concern for the environment is an emerging consumer trend reinforcing the need to apply these definitions of clean to new product design. Consumers expect “clean beauty” products to incorporate sustainable ingredients whenever possible and to not harm the environment or coral reefs. Hennigan highlighted that, according to Mintel, 14 percent of sunscreen users are concerned that using sunscreen could be harmful to the environment. In addition, “eco-friendly” is the top-cited claim adults aged 18–34 look for when shopping for BPC products.

Toner added that according to the Ocean Conservancy, Hawaiian coral reefs are exposed to 6,000 tons of sunscreen; oxybenzone and octinoxate have been targeted as the main coral bleaching threats. Consequently, Hawaii has banned the sale of sunscreens containing these two ingredients, swaying both consumer preferences and brand offerings. According to Mintel’s GNPD, sunscreen launches with octinoxate, oxybenzone, and octocrylene are on the decline in 2020, compared to 2016. Clean SPF responds directly to consumers’ environmental concerns through human- and environmental-safe products.

How CleanScreen™ Z60SF Meets the Definition of Clean Sunscreen

The New

CleanScreen Z60SF

Old Mineral



UV Filters

Broad Spectrum Protection
Sufficient Data for FDA GRASE X
Non-Whitening X
Sustainable Ingredients X X
Reef-Safe X
Easy Formulation X

Succeed in Clean Suncare Using CleanScreen Z60SF

CleanScreen Z60SF is a powerful non-nano, zinc oxide UV dispersion featuring Neossance™ Squalane that provides silky smooth SPF protection in skincare and color cosmetics without petrochemically derived ingredients or silicones. Product developers can easily launch anti-aging, non-whitening applications that provide complete coverage and align with consumers’ desire for clean beauty.

See how CleanScreen Z60SF can boost your next formulation: Request a sample.


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