The latest research from Which? uncovered sun creams from three popular brands which failed to offer the level of protection claimed on the bottle, after being evaluated using British Standard tests, testing 15 sun creams that claim to have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.
There is a legal obligation, under strict European cosmetics laws, for companies to make sure any claim made by a product is substantiated.
According to CTPA, it is unfair to suggest that a product is not performing adequately on the basis of its own tests, which were not intended to be as extensive as those carried out by manufacturers, and that companies are able to substantiate the SPF claims they are making to the satisfaction of both the cosmetics legislation and the Advertising Standards Authority.
“All claims must by law be supported by adequate and appropriate evidence,” says Dr Chris Flower, Director-General of the CTPA.
“For SPF claims, this will include a standardised test, such as the one carried out by Which?, and an extensive body of other evidence gathered while the scientists were formulating the products. It is the combination of all of this research that underpins the SPF of the final product and supports the value claimed, as opposed to any one test in isolation.”
Studied and tested
Flower also points out that companies do not just base their SPF labelling solely on those test results; but rather incorporate a number of additional checks and tests within the product development programme to build up a picture of whether the product being developed is behaving consistently and with a degree of predictability.
“Sun protection products must be thoroughly studied and tested because they are used to play a vital role in sun safety,” he continues.
“Sun protection is an important public health issue; consumers should be using sun protection products confident that the claims made on-pack are supported by robust evidence.”
The final word from the CTPA is that it is important to use a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and that full precautions are taken at all times.