Challenges in formulating natural sunscreen products

A research team out of Italy and the US, Tortini et al, recently published a narrative review of natural and organic sunscreen formulations in the Cosmetics journal. The paper’s goal was to congregate information on natural and organic formulation.

Tortini et al said consumers, particularly those born after 2000, are both interested in sun protection products and the environmental impacts of products.

“The formulation of effective and pleasant sunscreen, having a natural, organic, sustainable connotation, is getting a more and more complex approach for the paucity of suitable ingredients,”​ Tortini et al said.

Creating natural and organic sunscreens can be challenging with crossing independent standards, lacking government regulation and effectiveness of UV filters.

Natural and organic certifications

Tortini et al said organic cosmetics and personal care products are projected to be a $54.5 billion market globally by 2027. 

Because of a lack of international regulation, brands turn to independent certification bodies, like Cosmos, Natrue and International Organization for Standardization, to set natural and organic product criteria.

The private certification bodies and ISO have different approaches to defining natural and organic personal care and cosmetics products. While ISO 16128 is a clear international standard, Tortini et al said cosmetic formulators find it confusing and a “step backward” from existing private standards.

“The general criteria established by private certification bodies do not focus on the products themselves but involve the entire cosmetics sector in a project of sustainable development and social responsibility, having as their object the maintenance of the balance of our planet,”​ Tortini et al said.


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