SunControl presents unique sun protection with UV sensor to transform the SPF industry
Swedish entrepreneur Martina Richter on what’s so fundamentally wrong with how we protect ourselves in the sun.
31 Aug 2022

The sun protection factor — SPF — was invented over 60 years ago. The intention, Martina Richter shares, was to calculate the time you are safe in the sun with the applied sunscreen.

— However, this equation only works with SPF from 1-10, that’s it. So, you can’t calculate a safe time with an SPF above 10. With time, the industry has raised the SPF of up to 50 and more, making the consumer believe that they have more protection — which they don’t. The truth is that SPF 50 has only 1% more UVB protection compared to SPF 30. This is one of the reasons why people stay longer in the sun believing they have more protection. 

Richter is the founder and CEO respectively of two companies — New Medic Era and V Soft Lift — specialising in the field of medical aesthetics. While she was developing a sunscreen for her skincare range SkinPlan, she realised that she didn’t want to make a product that doesn’t work and gives false security. Instead, she managed to develop, and patent, what she describes as a new generation of sun protection. 

— Under the cap of the sunscreen, I have placed a UV sensor that immediately reacts to the strength of the sun. So, first, you check your skin tone from 1 to 5 on the sunscreen bottle. You then take off the cap, read off the UV strength, and look at the chart how long you can stay safe in the sun that day.

And how does the sensor work?

— It’s made of pigments that react to the UV light of the sun. When exposed to the sun, it colours from light pink to dark purple, depending on the strength of the sun being weak to medium, strong or extreme.  

Richter has been awarded the EU WIIN Awards for Innovative Women in Europe and SunControl received the SKAPA Award in memory of Alfred Nobel for the patented innovation. According to her, the industry needs to improve the way they communicate.

— To protect yourself correctly in the sun you need to apply sunscreen and also know how long you can stay in the sun, which we’ve made possible. It’s all about the time — the sun is like fire, and both can burn your skin, just like sitting close-up to a bonfire on the beach. After a while, the heat will start making your skin red and with time it will burn and you’ll end up with blisters. The sun also heats up and burns your skin in a similar way. There’s no sunscreen in the world that can make you stay safe in sun on a sunny day with an extreme UV-Index. Personally, I don’t like sunscreen products with SPF 100 because it easily makes people believe they are 100% safe in the sun for a whole day, she says, adding,

— Our launch has been amazingly successful. This is also a product for people doing all sorts of outside sports. They need protection all year round and with this product, you can check in your safe sun time during winter, spring, autumn, and summer. We are also working on the launch for the US. Here we have developed a new formula as the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has different regulations from Europe.