Here Comes the Sun!

By Joanna Cosgrove, Contributing Editor | January 30, 2017

Year-round sunscreen use has meant improved packaging from tubes to airless canisters, and dispensing caps and closures.

It may be the middle of winter but the need for sunscreen doesn’t take a holiday. Whether consumers are sunning on a beach or whooshing down the slopes, slathering on sunscreen is important to protect the skin from the sun’s perennially damaging rays.

According to market research firm Technavio, the global sun care products market is expected to experience a 4% CAGR growth between 2016-2020, with sunscreen-containing, multifunctional products like moisturizers and BB creams driving the demand.

The firm identified three emerging trends positioned to impact market growth through 2020: high-tech formulations and ingredient-driven product innovations; an increase in demand for private label brands; and the use of nanotechnology/nanoparticles to give products a premium appeal.

Brijesh Kumar Choubey, one of Technavio’s lead industry analysts for cosmetics research, adds that label verbiage is also evolving for more discerning consumers. “Earlier, most sun care brands had labels such as sun block and 100% protection,” he says. “Vendors are also using labels such as ‘dermatologically tested’ or ‘anti-oxidants present’ on their products to enhance appeal.”

Choubey also notes a rise in the use of spray dispensers for sun care, as well as enhanced decorations for labels. “Vendors are launching products in convenient and attractive packs and formats such as foams and sprays,” he says. “They are also making use of digital technology to develop enhanced graphics and printed labels.”

Eco-Friendly Form & Function

Environmental friendliness continues to be an important trend in both formulas and packaging for sun care products.

Goddess Garden is a company that’s extremely keen on being safe, effective, biodegradable and free of harmful chemicals. The company recently worked with Toronto-based Viva IML Tubes to package an after-sun gel product, selecting a 100% polypropylene (PP) tube that’s 100% recyclable. Bruno Lebeault, Viva IML Tubes’ marketing director, North America, says the company also liked that all of Viva IML Tubes’ componentry (in-mold labels and caps) are manufactured and printed under the same roof using a simple process that requires up to 35% less energy.

“The fact that Viva is now working with some retailers to organize a closed loop recycling of the tubes with a company that is recycling the polypropylene into other PP products such as plastic cutlery, toothbrushes, etcetera, is another factor in favor of Viva IML tubes,” says Lebeault.

The 6-oz Goddess Garden tube is a 48.5mm diameter injection molded tube with in-mold labeling, printed on a 12-station hybrid Gallus printing press, which is capable of combining flexo, offset, silkscreen, cold foil and hot stamp to achieve any type of artwork.

And speaking of tube deco, Goddess Garden wanted the assurance that their artwork wouldn’t be compromised over the course of the tube’s use. Lebeault says an overlam film was used in lieu of varnish to make the tube completely formula resistant, purse-proof and scuff-resistant, assuring that the brand message would remain intact for the duration of the product’s life. This was aided by the use of a PP tube. Thanks to its resilient “bounce-back” properties, the tube surface will stay fresh and will never wrinkle with use.

Viva IML Tubes recently developed a new innovation perfectly suited to the sun care category: a tube that’s reactive to sunlight, enabling specific messages to appear when the tube is exposed to sunlight. “This would be of great use to remind consumers to re-apply their favorite brand,” says Lebeault.

After years of using harsh chemical sunscreens to meet the sun protection demands of being an ocean lifeguard, Brian Guadagno set out to create a natural alternative that actually worked. The result was Raw Elements. Preservative-free and formulated with certified natural and organic ingredients and non-nano, uncoated, zinc oxide, Guadagno’s Raw Elements is not only “reef safe,” it also bears the distinction of being non-GMO project approved.

In addition to offering its sunscreens in tins and stick formats, Raw Elements’ Eco Formula 30+ Lotion is packaged in colorful 3-oz tubes supplied by Pack-Tubes of The Woodlands, TX. In light of the brand’s ultra-eco-conscious positioning, Pack-Tubes’ Adrian Ayala, vice president sales and marketing, says the Raw Elements tubes were migrated from a traditional co-ex five-layer LDPE squeezable tube into a high-flavor and oxygen barrier flexible web laminated structure (PBL 300 micron), which represented a cost savings and enhanced environmental friendliness because it replaced a solvent base pressure-sensitive  BOPP filmic warp-around label for a high-resolution, direct tube printing solution.

When it came to the tube decoration, Guadagno wanted bold, bright colors. “It is a well-known fact that printing fluorescent PMS C2 colors on a squeezable tube presents a real challenge for any offset, silk screen and digital printing available equipment,” Ayala says. “It required a high level of expertise in the color management field. Pack-Tubes  went for a high-definition UV crisp dot flexography printing system to get the job done.”

Durable Protection

For brands that prefer flexible primary packaging, choosing a medium that combines durability with an element designed to protect and preserve formula integrity is key.

Cornelia Schmid of Switzerland-based Hoffman Neopac, likes Polyfoil tubes for their excellent barrier resistance to moisture and light permeation. “[Some] SPF 20-25 substances that have been approved by the FDA for sun care products...seem to be really aggressive to tube material like PE,” she says. “Our [Polyfoil] tube materials are certified according to DMF and U.S. pharmacopeia, which prepares the way for a successful FDA registration of the whole product.”

Hoffman Neopac has integrated Polyfoil into two packaging options for the sun care segment. For facial products, Polyfoil Evoclassic/Evolux offers exact dosing of fluid products. And for products formulated to protect the delicate skin on lips, the company offers Polyfoil Polaris Tubes, which feature a slanted tip to conveniently apply lip products.

Tubes are time-tested, convenient packaging formats for sun care products, and provide ample real estate for deco and brand messaging. Flexible, squeezable tubes with EVOH protection are commonly used across the strata of the cosmetics industry because the inherent structure provides a better barrier than ordinary plastic when it comes to reducing the permeability. “EVOH tubes prevent oxygen from penetrating the package and the outward diffusion of perfumes, while ensuring that the substances and active agents of the cosmetics are kept inside the package,” explains Jean Luc Leblond, marketing manager at Dallas, NC-based CTL Packaging USA.

One of CTL Packaging’s solar care product-suitable tubes is the ESTube, a proprietarily developed, injected-molded labeled (IML) tube. “The tubes are a light weight type of packaging, which is important for solar care products as they are meant to be used outside, and consumers carry them around. It is also easy to use as you can squeeze it and get all the product,” Leblond says, noting that CTL’s IML technology facilitates durable deco options that resist the effects of water and sand, for example.
Australian Gold turned to CTL when it needed a tube for its sun care and self-tanning products that delivered high-visual impact with complete surface decoration. “In order to achieve the expected look, we had to combine several decoration techniques,” Leblond says, adding that CTL employed a four-color process, direct inks, cold stamping and a gloss varnish to achieve the desired effect. Some of the tubes also feature CTL’s brand new holographic decoration.

In addition to layered EVOH tube construction, another equally important packaging consideration is how the packaging will preserve a formula’s longevity by slowing its degradation. “In some cases, the formula needs to be protected from exposure to atmosphere for avoiding oxidation,” explains Vinay Upasani, president, Global Packaging Inc., La Habra, CA. “In these circumstances, in addition to providing the protection of compatible primary packaging material, we add airless dispensing pumps to the package to ensure that the product does not come in contact with air.”

Danville, VA-based Essel Propack America LLC recently developed a large, 60mm diameter tube suitable for “family sized” products or sunscreen brands looking to transition from bottles to tubes. “We also have the option for a soft touch varnish to give the tube a matte look and a softer tactile effect to achieve a more elegant look and feel,” says the company’s Sydney Owen, marketing coordinator. “Our 360-degree printing and Inviseam option would be an excellent choice for customers who would like to minimize the look of the side seam of the tube.”

Sprayable Convenience

Spray-format sunscreens are hugely popular thanks to the inherent convenience of their one-handed application.

CTL’s airless pump tube, called the Dositube, offers a convenient 360-degree spray dispensing capability. Expanscience Laboratories selected the Dositube for its Mustela SPF 50+ Very High Protection Sun Spray for Babies, giving parents a convenient way to help protect the delicate skin of their infants and small children from sun damage.

Leblond says the Dositubes are delivered to fillers in one piece, with the pump and cap included and the top sealing area open. “Apart from production we assist our clients with the decoration to make sure they achieve the look they were hoping for,” he says.

With the increased focus on sunscreen performance, Earl Trout, senior vice president, Americas, Airopack, NY, says there’s also growing attention on how consumers interact with sunscreen packaging, putting the onus ultimately on brand-owners and packaging developers to ensure that products are being used correctly.

Airopack’s eponymous, air-powered dispensing platform is consistently capable of dispensing the gamut spanning highly viscous lotions and creams and spray sunscreens and tanning sprays. “Thick products that typically require a tube or jar can now be dispensed with one-hand in an Airopack,” Trout says. “For leg or full body applications, Airopack can spray or dispense 360-degrees at any angle. Our transparent plastic packaging allows the consumer to see the product (great for different tanning shades) and evacuates nearly every drop (98-99% restitution).”

In 2016, Tarte launched Little Mist Sunshine Self-Tanning Spray using the non-aerosol Airopack system. The clear, 150ml Airopack packaging allowed Tarte to showcase its clear, odor-free self-tanner formulation, first on QVC, then in Sephora. The mess-free self-tanner is infused with skin-soothing moisturizers and buffed into the skin using a mitt to deliver a gradual, natural-look bronzing to the skin.

“It is important to consider how the dispensing systems deliver the desired experience and performance to the consumer,” comments Amy Molloy, market development manager, personal care + home care, Aptar, Cary, IL. “For instance, can a product designed for the viscosity of a lotion be dispensed through a closure and also as a spray—both through a fine mist pump and a BOV (bag on valve) system—without compromising performance, and with a family aesthetic that provides consistent brand communication?”

From a technical vantage point, Molloy says the pressurization and insert technology of spray systems is critical to achieve the desired spray performance, varying from narrow to wide sprays and delivering a consumer effect varying from maximum coverage to “dry” sprays.

Aptar Beauty + Home worked with Kiss My Face LLC to develop a package for the brand’s 30 SPF Obsessively Natural Kids Defense + Cool Sport Sunscreens in May 2016. The line’s products were formulated with mineral sunscreen ingredients and natural aloe and cucumber extracts.

To help protect the ingredients and enhance ease of application, Kiss My Face selected Aptar Beauty + Home’s Air Powered Spray with Bag On Valve technology, capped off by a hoodless Glencoe Twist To Lock accessory. The resulting package delivers convenient, one-touch, any-angle spraying. What’s more, the eco-friendly, air-powered delivery system uses zero chemical propellants.

With a nod to bringing even more convenience to consumers, Aptar also developed and patented Proteo. Ideal for sun care products, the package is a conveniently flexible, multiple-use dispensing pouch that can hold 40-90ml of product. The product was launched in Brazil (the largest single sun care market in the world) during the Rio 2016 Olympics, and is in the process of rolling out to other regions.

Regardless of the season, consumers know sunscreen use is a must. When packaging suppliers work together with brands to provide effective, convenient packaging solutions, the result is an enhanced user experience, not to mention improved compliance for better skin care.