5 more sunscreens fail to meet SPF claims

Only four of 10 sunscreens were up to standard in our first batch of testing.

19jan 5 more sunscreens hero default

Another five sunscreens have failed to meet SPF label claims with one product only giving low protection. These disappointing results follow our first batch of testing, where only four of 10 sunscreens were up to standard.

Eco Tan Natural Coconut Sunscreen Untinted SPF30 only returned an SPF of 12 in our test. In response to our findings, the company said the product complied with the voluntary sunscreen standard but didn’t provide a test certificate to support its SPF30 claim.

Skinnies Kids Barefoot Babe SPF50 had an SPF of 25. Skinnies Kids went to market with this product after getting only one valid test result (not the required ten subjects). It then found the SPF was degrading and had to reformulate. Skinnies didn’t issue a recall of the affected batches. It’s now testing the reformulated sunscreen. Preliminary results based on two subjects showed the reformulated product is likely to meet its SPF50 claim.

We Are Feel Good Inc. Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+, Le Tan Coconut Lotion SPF50+ and Cancer Society Kids Pure Low Irritant Sun Lotion SPF50+ provide high protection, but not the very high protection they claim.

We Are Feel Good Inc. provided us with 2018 test results from a US lab showing its product had been tested on 10 human subjects and met its label claim. The distributors of Le Tan gave us supporting test results based on 12 subjects from 2016 and 2017.

The Cancer Society based its SPF50+ claim on a technical report that concluded it was “highly unlikely” the formula would fail to provide SPF50+ protection. This conclusion was based on a 10-person test of a formula with the same active ingredients but different preservatives. However, there was only a three-person test of the sunscreen we tested.

As a result of our findings, the Cancer Society sent a sample of the batch we tested to a US lab. Preliminary results from three subjects showed it is likely to meet its SPF50+ label claim.

We say

Existing rules mean manufacturers don’t have to test sunscreens before putting them on the market. We want that to change. Our testing continues to find products that don’t provide the sun protection claimed.

We’re asking the government to make the sunscreen standard mandatory. We’ll be making the case for change in our submission on the upcoming review of therapeutic products. Submissions on the review close in April.

Our test

Our accredited lab tested the sunscreens following the methods in the Australian and New Zealand standard AS/NZS 2604:2012. Our samples were sent “blind” to the lab and packed according to its instructions.

We’re also testing four more sunscreens and will have the results available as soon as possible.

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