Photo: Anne Frejberg

Tomorrow's sunscreen lasts longer and is sweat-proof

Monday 16 Jan 17
by Charlotte-Malassé


Esben Thormann
DTU Chemistry
+45 45 25 24 39


40 per cent of all cancer cases in Denmark are skin cancer, and the disease costs society DKK 250 million (EUR 34 million) a year. Considerable savings can thus be made if we get better protection when using sunscreen.

There are many mental challenges in having a stoma. People may be uncertain as to how well the stoma bag adheres, which may lead to social problems for the person with a stoma. At the same time, it can cause skin problems if the skin cannot breathe. The project will seek to solve these problems.



Investment from Innovation Fund Denmark: DKK 12.2 million

Total budget: DKK 22.5 million

Duration: Four years

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' at DTU 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.


  • DTU Chemistry: Esben Thormann, Project Manager, tel. +45 4525 2439
  • Coloplast: Maria Lindeberg, Senior Media Relations Manager, tel. +45 4911 3095
  • Riemann: Malene Barré Pedersen, Director of R&D and Regulatory Affairs, tel. +45 4718 2000

DTU Chemistry's research group 'Polymers and Functional Interfaces' conducts studies of intermolecular surface forces, polymers, surface functionalization and characterization of surface structures and properties from the nano-scale level to the micron scale. An exciting element in the group's research is the direct link between basic research and applied surface science, which means that the research may result in the development of new functional surface materials of commercial interest.

Coloplast develops products and services that make life easier for people with intimate health needs. Globally, Coloplast employs more than 10,000 people, and the business includes ostomy, urology, and continence, as well as skin and wound care.

Riemann is a company dedicated to developing and manufacturing, for example, sunscreens with reliable protection. The main focus of Riemann's corporate culture is on the products with the aim of constantly improving the value of Riemann products for the benefit of all users.

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16 DECEMBER 2018