The continued importance of sun care products in the post Covid-19 scenario

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought outdoor activities ranging from sunbathing to work-related travel to a grinding halt. Just when most parts of the world were healing from the initial outbreak, they were forced to reinforce shutdowns as the second wave of the pandemic began ravaging through local populations. Now, there is a realistic fear that the virus will not disappear but may in fact heap wave upon wave of misery on humankind. At the same time, it is increasingly becoming clear that normalcy must return and all activities, be it economic, leisure, cultural or social, must resume if society as we know is to continue. However, this resumption is likely to take place under the umbrella of the ‘new normal’ where norms such as social distancing and wearing of face masks will become part of routines.

The evidence of this is already being observed as most activities have resumed in a staggered manner in different parts of the globe. This includes travel and tourism, which was earlier speculated to be one of the most adversely affected industries due to the pandemic. While it is true that this comeback has not been to the same scale as pre-pandemic levels, the signs remain encouraging. The root cause for this return lies in the makeup of humans, who at their core are social and non-sedentary animals. As a result, products such as sun care products, whose fortunes were written off during the initial states of the pandemic’s outbreak, are now back on shelves.

The sales trends of products like sunscreens, including moisturisers and oils that help protect from sunrays, are in future slated to be key indicators of the degree of post Covid-19 normalcy returning in any given area. This is since sun care products are one of the few types of products that are considered as both luxury products as well as essentials. As a luxury product, high-end sunscreens are meant for tan-control and beauty requirements, while as essentials they protect against sunburns and other detrimental effects of exposure to harsh sunlight, including skin cancers that can be caused as a result of exposure to ultraviolet rays. In short, sun care products are used by those who travel for leisure, as well as those who need to perform outdoor tasks as a daily requirement. However, the common denominator remains that the products will be consumed outdoors.

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Furthermore, the core requirements for sun care items remain undiminished. Global warming and ozone depletion have increased the risk of skin cancers and sunburns. Despite talk of ‘nature healing’ during the lockdowns, the damage done in the preceding decades, if not centuries, is impossible to offset and all global warming related problems continue just as they did before the pandemic; risks to humans too remain unchanged. This is also one of the factors because of which sunscreens and similar such items have crossed the bridge between luxury products and essential products. At the same time, beauty standards too remain the same. Thus, it is a given that the number of people stepping out from the confines of their homes shares a direct correlation to the sales of sun care products.