How we use science and expertise to ensure our sunscreen products work in balance with the oceans
Oceans are vital to all life on our planet. They hold a teeming world, rich with biodiversity, and capture CO2 produced by human activity. In fact, it´s estimated that 50% of life-giving oxygen comes from the oceans, as plankton and ocean plants absorb CO2 and release O2 back into the atmosphere (How much do oceans add to world's oxygen? | Earth | EarthSky).
It’s for this reason that we are working towards making all our Eucerin cosmetic sun care products respectful of the ocean. At Eucerin we believe that oceans must be treated with care and respect. And we know this is a shared responsibility that encompasses all of us. That’s why all our sun care formulations are now ocean friendly.
What do we mean by ocean friendly?
We mean that our sun care products work in harmony with the oceans and the life they harbour and nurture through scientific and sustainable decision-making – without compromising on providing you with efficacious, life-changing dermatological skincare. This is the belief behind The Ocean Formula.
Going beyond the surface?
For over 100 years, Eucerin has been creating and delivering life-changing dermatological skincare products. We’ve helped millions of people overcome skin conditions, health concerns and social stigmatisation. We believe in the power to change lives for the better and CARE beyond skincare. This means we take responsibility for your skin and for the planet; therefore, we are committed to making significant improvements in the way we conduct our business for the sake of the planet and all life on it. You can find our full sustainability targets here.
Nevertheless, we feel a special responsibility for our sun care products – which millions of people around the world apply before being in contact with our oceans – so we’re going above and beyond in our efforts to ensure best protective properties and a reduced impact on oceans.
What we’ve achieved so far?
Our mission has always been to create sunscreens which allow you and your loved ones to enjoy the sun while being protected. Building on the latest scientific developments and our consolidated expertise, our sun care scientists have developed sunscreen formulations with the highest protective properties and a reduced impact on oceans.
Historically, many cosmetic formulations required microplastics to work efficaciously. These microplastics are small (less than 5mm), non-degradable and non-water soluble*. As such they can do dramatic damage to the ecosystem.
In 2013, Eucerin's parent company Beiersdorf was one of the first cosmetics companies to decide to stop using polyethylene peeling particles (more commonly known as microbeads).
In 2015, Eucerin swapped these polyethylene particles for more environmentally friendly alternatives such as microcrystalline cellulose particles, dioxide particles or castor wax. These environmentally friendly alternatives are just as gentle and skin friendly as their predecessors and achieve the same peeling effect.
In 2020, we eliminated nylon, one type of microplastic, and adapted the corresponding product formulas.
We’re proud to say that, as of the end of 2022, all our cosmetic sunscreen formulations are microplastic-free*.
Polymers are one of the ingredients that allow us to change how our products act and feel. For example, one polymer helps to create a film on the skin. Others make them water or sweat resistant. Obviously, these elements are important for your safety.
These properties are especially hard to find naturally, which means until recently we had to use non-biodegradable polymers. However, we’ve made great headway and already exchanged many for biodegradable alternatives. This means they can be eaten by microbes and blend back into nature. Our ambition is that by 2025, we use only biodegradable polymers.
UV filters are essential ingredients in effective sunscreen, but through scientific breakthroughs in our Research and Development Centre, we are now able to combine filters in a way that allows less filters and thus less impact on the environment while maintaining the same level of UV protection.
The future of the ocean formula
But we won’t stop there. We have many more plans to make our sunscreen and all our products better for you, the oceans, and the whole planet. That’s the belief behind The Ocean Formula.
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*Microplastics as defined by UNEP. Excludes OTC products in the US.