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Sunscreen Technology, Regulations and Formulations

By Ken Klein
Posted: March 21, 2007, from the April 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 5 of 5

Sunscreen formulation
      Sunscreen formulations can vary greatly, depending upon the claims that the marketing department wants to make and how the product will be packaged, as well as cost of goods. Following is a typical sunscreen formulation. Most products are emulsions and most of these are of the oil-in-water (o/w) type. It should be mentioned that water-in-oil types will consistently provide a higher SPF than their o/w counterparts, and they are inherently very water resistant.
      Lately, many companies are selling continuous-spray sunscreens. These are anhydrous systems—meaning they contain no water—and use very high levels of alcohol to solubilize the sunscreens and provide a cooling sensation to the skin.
      Make sure to read ingredient lists on sunscreen products in order to identify which are included to offer real consumer benefit, and which offer no benefit and are for label claims only.