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New sunscreens created from
Shiseido’s pursuit for
sustainability and functionality

~Beauty of human skin through coexistence with the natural environment~

May 10, 2022

New sunscreens created from Shiseido’s pursuit for sustainability and functionality

Shiseido has engaged actively in various innovative efforts to resolve social issues through the power of beauty under its corporate mission “BEAUTY INNOVATIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD”, with the aim of creating beauty, happiness, and hope in the daily lives of people around the world.
Today, we will discuss one of Shiseido’s projects involving the research of the relationship between UV filters and coral. The impact of sunscreen on the ocean was investigated with a focus on corals, which have a major impact on their marine ecosystem, and sunscreen products are developed with the aim of achieving harmony with the marine environment. How is the marine environment perceived in research and development, and what does it mean to the brand?
We conducted an interview with Yuko Nagare, the group manager of Anessa Development Group at Brand Value R&D Institute, Yurika Watanabe from SHISEIDO Development Group at Brand Value R&D Institute, Marie Yamazaki, the group manager of Anessa Global Brand Unit, and Mio Takano, the group manager of SHISEIDO Global Brand Unit.

Research for human prosperity under the sun

―First, I would like to ask the two researchers about the long history of ultraviolet (UV) ray research by Shiseido.

Nagare: Shiseido has been engaging in research on UV rays for more than 100 years, and we were the first company in Japan to market sunscreens with SPF labels. We aim to create a world where human beings prosper under the sun, and the technology to protect the skin from UV rays is continually evolving.

Yuko Nagare, group manager of Anessa Development Group at Brand Value R&D Institute

Yuko Nagare, group manager of Anessa Development Group at Brand Value R&D Institute

―What is the specific technology you are referring to?

Nagare: One example of such technology is a UV protective veil that becomes uniform and stronger when in contact with heat, sweat, and water. This technology that enables high water resistance not only ensures that the skin is protected from UV rays but also contribute to less elution to the ocean, which helps lessen the impact of our coexistence with the marine environment.
Another example is sun dual care technology which not only achieves protection of the skin from UV rays but also uses a portion of sunlight for beautiful skin. This technology was developed through a groundbreaking idea that enables UV light, which is perceived to be harmful to the skin, to be converted to beneficial light rather than protecting the skin against UV rays.

―A technology that not only protects the skin but also make it more beautiful – that sounds wonderful!

Nagare: That’s right. We normally focus on sunscreen with regards to its function of protecting the skin from UV rays. The idea behind using sunscreen is to eliminate the negative aspects. We always wished to switch this to a positive mindset. If sunscreen could serve a skincare function, this would allow people to enjoy using it with a positive expectation.

Knowing the circumstances regarding corals and respecting marine environments

―I imagine minimizing release into the ocean also leads to the protection of ocean.

Nagare: I thought thorough investigation should be conducted on the impact of sunscreen on the ocean so people would not have concerns about the environmental impact of entering the ocean with sunscreen on their skin.

―What is the reason for focusing on coral when considering coexistence with the marine environment?

Yurika Watanabe, SHISEIDO Development Group at Brand Value R&D Institute

Yurika Watanabe, SHISEIDO Development Group at Brand Value R&D Institute

Watanabe: There was a high level of social interest on the relationship between sunscreens and corals, and we saw this as an important topic. We commenced research 3 years ago under the idea that products that realize coexistence with the marine environment should be developed and distributed after fully investigating the circumstances involved.

―What did the research actually involve?

Watanabe: We conducted joint research with external organizations. One of these research projects was conducted with Associate Professor Takashi Nakamura at Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, where the impact of various UV protective agents on two types of corals* classified as soft corals (Alcyonacea) and hard corals (Scleractinia) was evaluated.
In addition, Tokyo Bay risk assessment model, which was developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology as one of the largest scale public research institutions in Japan, was used to verify the presence of UV protective agents in the water when a person swam in the ocean after applying Shiseido sunscreen on the entire body. The findings in these experiments are utilized in the development of coral-respecting sunscreens with scientific evidence.
  • *The corals used in the experiments were colonies of egg-laying size excluding planktonic larvae and juvenile coral colonies that were collected with special permission of the prefectural premier in compliance with the regulations applicable in Okinawa Prefecture.
Nagare: Various technologies we have cultivated in the creation of a strong UV protective veil for high level of skin protection have greatly contributed to the development of the coral-respecting formula. The accumulation of Shiseido’s technical prowess over many years has contributed to this research.

―Products that enable skincare and are also environmentally considerate – this is achievement of both sustainable and premium experiences.

Nagare: Using the power of beauty to create happiness for the environment and the people – this corresponds to “Premium/Sustainability” as one of the approaches in Shiseido’s R&D philosophy “DYNAMIC HARMONY”. Sunscreens of the future will be something you choose to use to become a better self, rather than simply to protect your skin from UV rays. We aim to further advance our technical capability and continue to provide our customers with new values.
Watanabe: I would like to further expand the technology cultivated by Shiseido to make the natural environment our ally and use this to create harmony with the marine environment while also enriching human lives. Our wish is to continue our research that allows the creation of added values involving exciting, premium experiences while valuing the idea of sustainability.

Form of sustainability as perceived by the brand

―Now I would like to talk with the two members on the brand side. First, I would like to ask “SHISEIDO” about the efforts relating to sustainability.

Mio Takano, group manager of SHISEIDO Global Brand Unit

Mio Takano, group manager of SHISEIDO Global Brand Unit

Takano: We are engaging in two major projects for healthier, more beautiful oceans under the theme of “Respect Oceans, Protect Beauty”.
One of these projects is “SHISEIDO BLUE PROJECT”, marine protection activities such as beach cleaning and afforestation activities conducted jointly with the global professional surfing league WSL (World Surf League) and its non-profit organization “WSL PURE” for promotion, education, and practice of marine protection. In 2022, activities such as beach cleaning, afforestation, and coral reef conservation will be conducted in cooperation with the local communities and NGOs as a part of the championship tour held by WSL around the world.
Another example is the development of innovative technology for the protection of beautiful skin while achieving harmony with the natural environment, as well as the development projects with sunscreen for leisure use with high water resistance to minimize concern for the impact on coral. We believe that destruction of the environment should not be allowed through our pursuit of beauty.

―I am a little surprised to hear about collaboration with a surfing league!

Takano: That is a response we often receive. Surfers know well about the harm of sunlight but also love the ocean. They are also aware of the environmental impacts of the products they use. We believe that the development of products that are chosen by surfers reflects the high functionality of our brand products and the activities we engage in for sustainability.

―I see. How about the efforts taken by “Anessa” with regards to sustainability?

Yamazaki: The brand name “Anessa” comes from the word “Nessa”, which means hot sand in Japanese. This reflects the message “Protecting everyone on our beautiful planet & empower them to shine under the sun”.
Our brand is inseparable from the topics of nature and environment, and coexistence with the natural environment has been in the picture from the time of brand creation.
In the recent times where the word sustainability has become widely known, we are under obligation to face this topic head-on. From 2022, we will be fully committed to sustainability activities for the planet and for the people under the key phrase “For the people. For the planet, Together, we shine -SUNstainable World”.

Marie Yamazaki, group manager of Anessa Global Brand Unit

Marie Yamazaki, group manager of Anessa Global Brand Unit

―What are the specific actions involved?

Yamazaki: The activities are conducted under the axis “For the planet“ and “For the people”. “For the planet” projects include the utilization of a coral-respecting formula design in a majority of the core products, as well as the production processes and products such as the use of packages made with consideration of recyclability and the natural environment and the reduction of water use at our plant.
“For the people” projects aim to provide support for healthy, glorious daily lives of people under the sun. We provide support to patients with xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), an intractable disease involving hypersensitivity to UV rays, by providing sunscreen products and hosting study sessions on UV rays.
An example of a recent large-scale project is the classroom education on UV rays conducted at school. Communication of the importance and methods of UV care from childhood helps to educate on how to live comfortably in coexistence with the sun and the environment.

For a more exciting future under the sun

―I hear Ms. Yamazaki is a mother. Do you believe there is significance in education activity for children from a mother’s perspective?

Yamazaki: Definitely! I felt that how I see the world changed after I gave birth and started looking further into the future. Earth in 100 years and 200 years seemed like an unfamiliar concept previously, however 100 years and 200 years may not be so far away in the future. I feel this urgency close to my heart, and the fact that the people I love will be living in such ages is immutable.
I have renewed my intention to make efforts to engage in activities that lead to sustainable society on a personal level and to promote activities that have a major impact on the society through Anessa.

―Ms. Takano, how about you?

Takano: When I was working in the UK, I saw the high level of awareness the general public has for environmental issues, and this prompted me to think about what I can do as a person and as a member of the brand.
It is true that corporations have contributed to CO2 emission in past economic development, however corporations now play an important role in creating a positive society that also allows coexistence with the natural environment. I feel that we, as a global beauty company based in Japan, are in the position to lead this movement.
My wish is to create a beautiful future through research, product development, and promotion as we do today for further awareness and education.

―Finally, please tell us about the future outlook.

Yamazaki: Shiseido’s aim of harmony between the natural environment and the technology cultivated up to the present takes root in resolving the concerns of the people and providing happiness and excitement. Sunscreens that are respectful of corals and use sunlight as their strength allow us to fully enjoy ocean swimming under the sun. Under the brand Anessa, we aim to continue engaging closely in activities with consideration for marine environments and all of nature to create “a world where people and the planet shine under the sun”.
We hope to continue the collaboration with the research areas and deliver wonderful products to our customers while aiming to achieve “coexistence with the natural environment” and “beauty”.
Takano: Until now, the common perception of sunscreen was that it was something which eliminates the negative. However, the sun is the source of all life. We are looking to focus on sunscreens to overturn the existing ideas of the category and provide many positive products to make the skin more beautiful with every use. However, the pursuit of human beauty must not lead to harming the planet and the ocean. This is the common belief across research members and brand members.
We hope to create a world with mutual positivity and deliver beauty under the theme “coexistence with the natural environment”.