Although we all love it when the sun shines, the negative impact of sun exposure on skin has been a strong focus in cosmetics, making the SPF claim a must-have for many beauty brands.

However, it is not just sun that consumers are looking to protect against, they are becoming increasingly aware of the damages other aspects of their lifestyles cause. For example, looking at the impact other environmental stressors, aside from sun exposure, can have on their skin. Brands have identified the need for protection and are addressing this concern, leaving the question, can the anti-pollution claim become the new SPF?

The Chinese Concern

In Asian cities worries linked to air pollution are particularly high. In China, a number of product launches have focused on reducing the effects of pollution on the skin, which are directly linked to growing concerns over pollutant levels in the air.

The term ‘PM 2.5’ (the abbreviation of Particulate Matter 2.5, which refers to air pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less) has become a marketing claim in Chinese skincare products. With Mintel research revealing that pollution is the third-highest concern, as ranked by 20-49 year-old Chinese consumers, at 41%, the claim only has room for growth.

Linking skincare solutions to concerns over pollution has been a major trend in recent years. An example of this is make-up base products in this market, used to protect from any potential harm from cosmetics, UV rays and other pollution rather than improve coverage; some are known as “isolation cream” (Ge Li Shuang).

Anti-pollution claim to gain popularity in the West

Clarin’s Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream

Clarin’s Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream

Concern about the effects of pollution and protection against it is no longer limited to Asia. Although air pollution is less of a concern in the US, some 30% of facial skincare users worry about the effects of the environment on their skin. A number of Western brands, including Clarisonic, Avon and Simple have released studies to advertise the damage the sun, a stressful lifestyle and pollution can cause on the skin.

Clarin’s Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream

Clarins’ educates consumers on pollution and city lifestyle threats while releasing the brand’s first “atmospheric anti-pollution complex.”

Sampar’s Crazy Cream

Sampar’s Crazy Cream

Sampar’s Crazy Cream

Some products also focus on “city-defense” claims. Containing Urban Advance, an anti-pollution shield said to support skin’s functions.

Lancôme City Miracle CC Cream

Tested in some of the world’s most polluted cities and contains anti-pollutant Detoxyl.

In the UK, over 8 in ten consumers are aware of the impact of lifestyle stresses on skin. After the sahara dust smog swept the UK in 2014, the interest in anti-pollution products is set to grow. The number of products launched containing anti-pollution claims is therefore expected to increase in the coming years and will have an impact on all beauty categories, particularly facial skincare, colour cosmetics and soap and shower.

Lancôme City Miracle CC Cream

Lancôme City Miracle CC Cream

Mintel is the official research partner at in-cosmetics Asia, the leading personal care ingredients show in Asia, where global cosmetic ingredient suppliers exhibit their innovative products to cosmetic manufacturers from across Asia and the rest of the world. For more information click here.

Mintel have launched their Consumer Trends for 2015 – including the trend Toxic Avengers, highlighting how consumer attention will be drawn to pollution protection in the year ahead. Download your free copy now to find out the shifts in British consumer behaviour in the markets that matter to you.

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