When I was a teenager, playing around in the sun on the beach for long hours with my friends was always a wonderful time, except for one thing – I got terribly sunburned. As I got older, realizing that I could not subject myself any longer to painful sunburns and water blisters, I resigned myself to putting gobs and gobs of zinc oxide ointment on my face, neck, arms, and legs. It was the maximum sunscreen. Although I looked ridiculous, it saved me from becoming as red as a lobster. 

As the years passed, I guess I became a sunscreen connoisseur, buying all brands at different levels of UV protection. My “collection of sunscreens” is like a testament to how this product and the industry has changed over the decades. 

Did you know that the use of sunscreen can be traced back thousands of years? Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used various substances to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays. For instance, ancient Egyptians used extracts from rice, jasmine, and lupine plants as sunscreen.

Modern sunscreen was developed in the early 20th century and the first commercially available sunscreen was created by a chemist named Eugene Schueller in 1936. He founded the L’Oréal company and introduced a product called “Ambre Solaire,” which was one of the earliest sunscreens.

Later on, in the 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. military developed sunscreens to protect soldiers during World War II and the Korean War. These sunscreens were used to prevent sunburn and protect the skin from the harsh effects of the sun in tropical climates.

Over the decades, sunscreen formulations have significantly improved, and we now have a wide range of options with varying levels of sun protection factors (SPF) to suit different skin types and needs. As many of you know, sunscreen plays a crucial role in protecting our skin from harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of skin cancer and premature aging caused by sun exposure

Here are more facts about sunscreen use and its industry:

  • The global market for sunscreen is expected to reach $11.3 billion by 2027.
  • The sunscreen market in the Asia Pacific region is predicted to have a 5.9% growth rate by 2025.
  • In 2020, Beiersdorf, the manufacturer of Nivea, commanded a 13.7% share of the global sunscreen market.
  • Natural and organic sunscreens are expected to grow at a rate of 6.3% from 2020 to 2027.
  • In the U.S., 70% of women and 43% of men regularly use sunscreen.
  • In Australia, 72% of women and 63% of men regularly use sunscreen. 
  • The sunscreen cosmetics market in the U.S. was estimated at $3.6 billion in 2020.
  • Sun protective clothing is also expected to grow at a 4.5% rate from 2020 to 2025.
  • The child market segment held a 20% share in the U.S sunscreen market in 2021.
  • The consumer demand for water-resistant sunscreen products is increasing and expected to grow at a 6.2% rate throughout 2023 to 2028.
  • It is estimated that 20% of the sunscreens in the US market are spray on sunscreens.

Fortunately, I no longer have to look like some creature painted all white to protect myself from the sun. Clear spray on sunscreen makes it a breeze to use. That said, it’s still a good idea to augment my sunscreen with a wide brim hat, sunglasses, and light long sleeve shirts to keep myself safe, and hopefully, without too many wrinkles. 

Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators, Inc.

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