Top sunscreens fail to make the grade

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sunscreen

A number of top brand sunscreens may not provide the protection
they claim on the bottle, says Which?.

The UK consumer watchdog tested fourteen SPF 15 sunscreens including some of the top brands and found that only eleven provided a SPF of 12.5 or above. "Our latest test of sunscreens shows that some could give you far less protection than you expect,"​ said Which?. The finding is particularly worrying as rates of skin cancer continue to rise despite increasing awareness of the dangers of sun exposure and the benefits of sun protection. Unsatisfactory SPF ratings ​ Which? tested products from many of the top names including L'Oreal and Nivea as well as a number of supermarket own brands such as Sainsbury's Sun Protect Lotion and Asda's Sun System. The worst offender was Marks and Spencer's Sun Formula Lotion, which in the watchdog's tests came out with a SPF of only 7.1, less than half of its advertised protection of 15. A spokesperson for the company said that the formulation has been tested to internationally recommended protocols and test data shows it provides SPF 15 protection. Another big name to fail the Which? test was Malibu, whose High Protection Lotion only achieved an SPF of 10.2. The company responded to criticisms by saying that due to changes in EU regulation regarding UVA protection a reformulated version of the product will be introduced later this year, although it has 'every confidence' in the current product. Tesco's own brand did not fare well either with an SPF of 12 according to Which?, although the company similarly issued a statement supporting the product and its advertised SPF. Sunscreen favourites ​ The successes of the Which? report include Sainsbury's Sun Protect Lotion and Asda's Sun System which at £3 (€3.80) are easily affordable. Garnier's Ambre Solaire Clear Protect and Nivea Sun Moisturising Spray also performed well in the tests which investigated the UVA protection provided by the products. A recent change in EU regulation means that products must carry a symbol to indicate that they meet minimum standards for UVA protection and according to Which? nine out of the 11 products that passed the SPF test had medium or high protection against UVA.

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