While modern skincare has evolved to mirror our multi-tasking lives, sunscreens have traditionally stayed in their lane, focusing on doing one thing well: protecting skin from UV rays. But a new generation of formulas is offering more than just SPF. “A few years ago, we saw the growth of alphabet creams like BB and CC creams, which provide countless skincare benefits, and now we’re seeing some of those trends in the sunscreen category,” says Amy Chung, a beauty industry analyst.
Now, more and more SPF formulas are laced with skin-loving ingredients, from soothing aloe in We Are Feel Good Inc’s Coconut Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+, to O Cosmedic’s Mineral Pro SPF 30+ which contains resveratrol, a sophisticated antioxidant usually reserved for high-end serums and crèmes.
One of the trickiest things to get right is the texture – often chalky and sticky, it can put off even the most committed user. “The biggest hurdle is aesthetics,” says Naomi Furgiuele, who worked on R&D at Johnson & Johnson. “They don’t want it white or smelly,” she says, citing feedback from a sunscreen study the company conducted before developing their Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Sunscreen SPF 50, a super-lightweight formula packed with hyaluronic acid, which couldn’t feel more different from the sunscreens of the past.
Even if we’re successfully dodging the rays outside, we’re still soaking up blue light from our screens, which is believed to accelerate ageing and damage skin. Known as high-energy visible light (HEV), it’s something skincare brands have already started to address. This current issue of screen time echoes what dermatologists have been preaching for years: protecting our skin is a full-time job. And now, thanks to these new cutting-edge formulas, there are no excuses for skipping application.