UK supply of fake tan threatened by shortage of key ingredients | Supply chain crisis

Permanent tan is under threat this winter after cosmetic producers reported shortages of an ingredient used in a wide range of fake tan lines, skin creams and beauty products.

A UK-based self-tanner, chemical distribution company and pharmacists were unable to source the widely used solvent, ethoxydiglycol, which is used to improve the texture of products care products and to help them spread over the skin.

The ingredient is imported from abroad and widely used in many premium and premium skin care products, including face creams, makeup, deodorants, and hair dyes.

Sunjunkie, which makes its own brand of self-tan products, as well as under the big box retailer label, is struggling to source the ingredient due to disruptions in the global supply chain.

“It’s a total nightmare,” said Diane Higham, director of Stockport-based Sunjunkie.

Diane Higham of Sunjunkie discovered supply difficulties after the peak summer sales season. Photography: Sunjunkie

“It’s a product that goes into a lot of things and you just don’t think you suddenly can’t get it anywhere.”

Higham first discovered supply difficulties when looking to restock essential ingredients for her products after the peak summer sales season.

A number of its suppliers in the UK and EU do not have ethoxydiglycol in stock and are uncertain when they can get it. Some experts have cited the rapid growth of the beauty industry in China as a possible reason for the shortage in the UK.

Other raw materials are also proving difficult to obtain. Higham is concerned about the future availability – and cost – of other essential ingredients, including DHA (dihydroxyacetone) and erythrulose, the ingredients that give the skin a tanned color.

“You can just see the product line suddenly shut down if we don’t have these major ingredients,” Higham said. She has enough raw materials to continue production until Christmas, but worries about being able to fill orders in the new year.

UK online pharmacy Medicine Direct looked at the product’s shortage and found its price to drop from £ 12 to £ 103 per kilogram.

Nitin Sethi, managing director of chemical distribution company Ascot International, which sources and supplies raw ingredients for the personal care industry, said many items were in short supply.

Ascot imports ethoxydiglycol from the United States and India, and Sethi said the price has increased by 30%, despite being able to source it only “in a trickle” and not in the required volume.

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Sethi found that the main ingredients in self-tanning products were scarce, and prices had increased by 30-40%. He added, “A month ago I placed an order for 10 metric tonnes of DHA and only received four tonnes by the end of the year.

“Our turnover is down because we are not able to sell what we have to sell due to lack of stock, and the price is high and some people are not ready to pay the price.”

Even if ethoxydiglycol is not used in large quantities in fake tans and other cosmetics, it will not be possible to manufacture the products that include it without requiring expensive and time-consuming reformulation.

Drugstore chain Boots said its suppliers had raised no concerns about the future supply of products containing ethoxydiglycol, while retailer Superdrug declined to comment on the shortage and whether this could lead to a lack of availability. fake tan and other products.

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