7 Dec 2020

Sunscreen brands not meeting label claims pulled up by Consumer NZ

12:05 pm on 7 December 2020

Five sunscreens have failed to provide their claimed sun protection in the latest round of testing by Consumer New Zealand.


Photo: 123RF

Out of the 10 products tested, half met their SPF label claim and requirements for broad-spectrum protection.

Those were Cancer Society Everyday, Cetaphil Sun Kids Liposomal Lotion, Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen, Skinnies Conquer with Manuka Oil Sports Sunscreen and Nivea Sun Sensitive Protect. All carried a label of SPF50+.

A further three sunscreens failed to meet their SPF claims but met their broad-spectrum claims.

Those were Banana Boat Daily Protect Sunscreen, Natural Instinct Invisible Natural Sunscreen and Sukin Suncare Sheer Touch Facial Sunscreen Untinted.

The SPF rating for Banana Boat was still high at 40.4 but did not meet the SPF50+ claimed on the label.

Sukin and Natural Instinct were found to only provide moderate protection, SPF15 to 25, rather than the high SPF30 advertised.

Consumer New Zealand said Sukin had advised its sunscreen was being retested.

Le Tan Coconut Lotion and Ecosol Water Shield Sunscreen met neither the SPF nor broad-spectrum claim made on their label.

It is the second time the Le Tan sunscreen failed to meet its SPF claim in testing, according to Consumer NZ.

The results were, unfortunately, not much of a surprise, Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said.

"We've been doing this testing for a few years now and we've regularly seen sunscreen manufacturers fail either their SPF claims or the broad spectrum claim.

Regulation requiring regular testing of sunscreens should be in place in New Zealand, Duffy said.

"One of the companies that failed is relying on testing from 2013 and 2014 to substantiate its claims and a lot can happen with formulations and that sort of thing in that period of time."

Some manufacturers had relied on testing by a US-based laboratory which has been investigated by the FBI over fraudulent test results, he said.

"We think that for companies knowing this to then knowingly rely on results of that lab is a little bit on the nose as well. and they should be re-testing their products."

Duffy said in a country with such high rates of skin cancer it was imperative SPF claims were accurate.

"Making sure consumers can rely on the claims made labelling so that they know they're getting a reliable product is absolutely critical," he said.

"Secondly, as with any product, manufacturers should be able to stand behind the claims that they're making on their label."

Duffy said manufacturers of sunscreens found not to be meeting the claims should work to rectify the labelling.

He told Morning Report the two companies that failed both the SPF and broad spectrum claims had agreed to either re-label their product accurately or re-test it.

Full test results are available on www.consumer.org.nz.