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8 April 2021

Two more sunscreens fail to meet SPF claims

Consumer NZ has found two more sunscreens have failed to meet their SPF claims, with one also failing to meet broad-spectrum requirements.

In 2020, Consumer NZ tested 10 sunscreens and found only five were up to standard.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said its latest test found Neutrogena Beach Defence Water + Sun Barrier Lotion Sunscreen SPF50 returned an SPF of 36.5. It also failed to meet the requirements needed to make a broad-spectrum claim. Consumer NZ sent another bottle of this sunscreen to a second lab, which also found it failed to meet its SPF claim.

Johnson & Johnson Pacific, which markets Neutrogena, said its sunscreens complied with the Australian and New Zealand sunscreen standard. The company provided test reports from 2012 to support its SPF and broad-spectrum claims.

Neutrogena SPF claim failure nothing new

Consumer NZ previously lodged a complaint with the Commerce Commission as a result of another Neutrogena sunscreen failing to meet SPF claims. In December 2017, Johnson & Johnson New Zealand signed court-enforceable undertakings with the commission, agreeing that its sunscreens sold here would meet the standard.  

Hamilton Active Family Sunscreen SPF50+ failed to meet its SPF claim, returning an SPF of 50. This is below the SPF 60 required to make a 50+ claim. Testing of another bottle of the sunscreen at a second lab also found it failed to meet its claim.

Key Pharmaceuticals, which owns the Hamilton brand, provided Consumer NZ with 2018 test results from a US lab to support its SPF50+ claim. The company said it had “no reason to doubt the integrity” of the results.  

“Consumer NZ is calling for manufacturers to regularly test sunscreens, as well as a mandatory sunscreen standard in New Zealand. Currently, sunscreens sold in New Zealand may not have been tested at all,” Duffy said.

“It’s not good enough that sunscreens remain unregulated, particularly in a country with one of the highest rates of skin cancer and melanoma in the world. New Zealanders deserve better.”

About Consumer NZ sunscreen lab testing

Accredited labs tested the sunscreens following the methods in the Australian and New Zealand standard AS/NZS 2604:2012. Consumer NZ samples were sent “blind” to the labs and packed according to their instructions. Johnson & Johnson have questioned Consumer NZ’s decision to send products to the labs “blind” – that is, decanted into unbranded containers. We stand by our decision and don’t believe our process raises any valid concerns.  

Read full sunscreen test results here.

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