Cosmed blasts misinformation concerning sunscreen testing

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags In vitro Sunscreen In vivo

Cosmed blasts misinformation concerning sunscreen testing
Cosmed, the French association for small-to-medium cosmetic companies has blasted reports by the France-based consumer watch dog 60 Million Consumers that question sunscreen efficacy.

Referring to a review of the efficacy of a long list of sunscreens available in French stores, the body, which represents some 640 companies throughout France, says that the scathing report was published last summer by 60 Million Consumers and picked up on by newspaper Libération.

Cosmed beleives that, although these reports were published last year, the repercussions are still being felt by the industry now.

The 60 Million Consumers report was published in edition 484 of its magazine, under the title ‘Sun creams : False Protection’, in an article that posed the questions of whether or not sun creams are giving consumers a false sense of security.

Although Cosmed concedes that the rhetoric of such articles is effective and guarantees an audience, the consequence  is that it gives consumers an incomplete picture, based on misleading facts.

Big problem with the in vitro testing method

The in vitro tests carried out by the watch dog were overseen by Laurence Coiffard, an individual whom the body claims has questionable scientific credentials. Cosmed questions the testing mainly on the basis that the UVB in vitro tests used in the research are not actually validated by global testing authorities.

In fact, Cosmed points out that only in vivo tests on voluntary testers are recognized by authorities, allowing companies to register their sun care products in all European countries.

Likewise, the tests are also criticised for not being adapted to the specific measurements of SPF that are increasingly used by consumers to gauge what sort of protection a sun care product will give.

Cosmed’s own tests proved unreliability of in vitro testing

In the 60 Million Consumers sun care report, Cosmed points to the fact that the baby sun care product Natessance IP 30 that was criticised in the report, has in fact been recognised as an SPF 30 product through on the spot tests carried in accordance with AFSSAPS testing methods carried out by health inspectors.

Cosmed oversaw separate in vitro tests on this product that provided highly varied results – SPF 34, 7, 14 – which the body says underlines the fact that in vitro tests are not reproducible, therefore unreliable.

Arguing over measurement errors

In October 2012, Cosmed publicly challenged the test results conducted by Laurence Coiffard and published by 60 Million Consumers, arguing that they were affected by such measurement errors.

Likewise, the tests are also said to have involved laboratory animals, specifically mice, a form of testing that Cosmed also questioned Coiffard over because it did not serve any purpose, but said it had no response to. Likewise, animal testing was banned in Europe from March 2009.

Completing its criticism of the test methods, the Cosmed report states: The bias of the magazine 60 Million Consumers gives rise to questions. A lack of objectivity, biased presentation, scientific amateurism, outlawed use of animal testing and defamation of companies... who is honestly fooling who here?”

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