Tomorrow’s Sunscreen Lasts Longer and Is Sweat-proof

Researchers from DTU Chemistry, Coloplast, and Riemann have joined forces to develop new materials that are to make products such as sunscreen and stoma bags adhere better to the skin. Innovation Fund Denmark is investing DKK 12 million (EUR 1,6 million) in the project.


Even though the frost is setting in outside, you probably still remember last summer’s trips to the beach. You may also remember how irritating it was to have to remember to apply sunscreen at regular intervals. For example after a swim.

Sunscreen protects against the sun‘s harmful ultraviolet rays, but the effect of the sunscreen may be degraded by various impacts. If you sweat, for example, the sunscreen quickly looses its sun protection factor.

A new project will now attempt to improve the ability of the sunscreen to remain on the skin.

“It’s therefore our aim to develop a sunscreen that you don’t need to apply as often. At the same time, the sunscreen will remain more intact when you sweat or become wet than is the case today,” says Associate Professor Esben Thormann, who heads the research group ‘Polymers and Functional Interfaces’ atDTU Chemistry.

Today, skin cancer accounts for around 40 per cent of all cancer cases in Denmark, and if sunscreen was able to offer more long-lasting protection, it could potentially contribute to reducing the number of skin cancer cases.

The means to improving the user-friendliness of sunscreen are water transporting materials. In order to meet the challenge, DTU has gathered an unconventional combination of project parties comprising researchers from DTU Chemistry, the medico company Coloplast, and Riemann, a manufacturer of specialized skincare products.

In addition to improving tomorrow’s sunscreen, the materials must also significantly improve stoma bags’ adhesion to skin. For people using stoma bags, it is very important that the bag fits properly and adheres correctly to the skin.

The aim of the project is to create a new composition of materials that will be able to transport moisture away from the skin, thereby ensuring that stoma bags adhere even better to the skin.

“With this project, we’ll combine state-of-the-art fundamental understanding of functional polymer materials with the solid, but sometimes also slightly conservative, understanding in the industry of what materials are,” says Associate Professor Esben Thormann.

With this new and improved technology, the peace of mind of both Coloplast’s and Riemann’s customers can be increased, and society can benefit from the technology in the form of reduced healthcare costs.

With the investment from Innovation Fund Denmark, it is now possible to develop a technology which initially will create two new products that are in high demand among the users. The interdisciplinary constellation of the three partners will make it possible to solve the problem of improving the adhesion of materials to the skin as well as achieving significant scientific and technological achievements. These results have very high commercial value for the Danish companies involved and will be able to generate growth and employment for society.