UK’s most popular suncreams ‘fail protection test’

Which? says that the most expensive sun creams do  not always offer the best protection. Picture: Reuters
Which? says that the most expensive sun creams do not always offer the best protection. Picture: Reuters
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SUNcreams produced by three of the UK’s most popular brands have failed to provide the protection they claim, tests by a consumer watchdog revealed.

Piz Buin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid, Malibu Protective Lotion and Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection Ultra Radiance Sun Lotion all had results lower than SPF 25, despite claiming an SPF of 30, Which? said.

The consumer group branded the creams as “don’t buys” in its investigation, which used British Standard tests to check 15 products with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 – a bestseller in the UK. A second round of testing produced the same results, the consumer body said.

The sunscreens tested are designed to protect against two types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB. Both types have been linked to skin cancer, although UVB is the main cause of sunburn and UVA has been linked to premature ageing of the skin.

EU recommendations say sun creams should offer a UVA protection factor that is a third of their SPF value.

Which? said Malibu Protective Lotion SPF30 was the only sun cream that also failed the UVA protection tests.

The study found that more expensive creams did not guarantee better protection. Calypso Sun Lotion SPF30 was the cheapest product on test and passed both British Standard tests. Piz Buin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid SPF30, which failed the SPF test, was the most expensive.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive, said: “With thousands of cases of skin cancer diagnosed every year, it’s vital you can trust a sun cream to provide the protection it claims. We’ve found three products that failed the strict British Standard tests and we want to see manufacturers doing much more to make sure their sun creams live up to the claims on the packaging.”

A spokesman for Malibu said: “We stand by our testing and are willing to have our formula tested again by any reputable UK testing house.”

Hawaiian Tropic told Which? it only marketed products that met the label SPF claim, and said all its products were rigorously tested at an independent, well-qualified laboratory.

Piz Buin told the consumer group all of its products were assessed for safety and efficacy in compliance with EU regulations.

Official figures released last month show cases of skin cancer have increased by 37 per cent in Scotland over the past decade.

Sarah Williams, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “The good news from this report is that price and whether the sunscreen was a fashionable brand didn’t matter. But it’s important that people can trust the information provided on the bottle, so they know what they’re buying.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “The government supports the Sun Smart campaign from Cancer Research UK, which highlights the dangers of the sun and sun beds, along with action people can take to reduce their risk of over-exposure.”