Five sunscreens fail Consumer NZ sun protection testing

Consumer New Zealand's latest round of testing has found five brands of sunscreen that failed to meet the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) claims made on the bottle.

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Half the products failed to meet their SPF claims, the watchdog organisation found. Source: 1 NEWS

Consumer NZ had 10 different sunscreen products tested by a laboratory and found half either provided less protection than they claimed, or did not provide broad spectrum protection.

In today's release, Consumer NZ said some of the sunscreen manufacturers had their SPF testing done at an American laboratory, AMA Laboratories, which had faced charges in 2019 for falsifying test results between 1987 and 2017.

According to Consumer NZ, some of the staff of the laboratory had pleaded guilty to those charges.

Consumer NZ has been lobbying for New Zealand sunscreen to be regulated by the Government, and a regulated testing regime to be put in place.

Chief executive Jon Duffy said it was unacceptable that while New Zealand had such a high rate of skin cancer, no regular testing is required.

"There's no requirement for sunscreen manufacturers to regularly test their products," he said.

"In fact, we have the unacceptable situation that the sunscreen standard is voluntary, so sunscreens don't have to be tested at all."

The Cancer Society also backed the call for regulation, saying New Zealand should follow similar measures to Australia.

"We'd like to see New Zealand introduce a regime similar to Australia's Therapeutic Goods Act," chief executive Lucy Elwood said.

"This will reassure New Zealanders that standards for sunscreen meet the same requirements as medicines - currently, retail sunscreen is classified as a cosmetic.

"This isn't good enough for a country like ours with the highest rates of skin cancer and melanoma in the world."

As a result of the testing, Ecosol said it would re-label its product in line with the Consumer NZ SPF testing results, and Le Tan said it would undertake re-testing of its product.

The same tests, undertaken last year, found nine different sunscreens failed their SPF claims.


The following products met SPF and broad-spectrum label claims:

• Cancer Society Everyday SPF50+
• Cetaphil Sun Kids Liposomal Lotion SPF50+
• Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF50+
• Skinnies Conquer with Manuka Oil Sports Sunscreen SPF50+
• Nivea Sun Sensitive Protect SPF50

The following products failed to meet SPF label claims but met broad-spectrum claims:

• Banana Boat Daily Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+
• Natural Instinct Invisible Natural Sunscreen SPF30
• Sukin Suncare Sheer Touch Facial Sunscreen Untinted SPF30

The following products failed to meet SPF and broad-spectrum label claims:

• Le Tan Coconut Lotion SPF50+
• Ecosol Water Shield Sunscreen SPF50+

Full test results and commentary is available at the Consumer NZ website here