Lab results show no product issues with Cancer Society sunscreens after sunburn complaints

Lab reports from Cancer Society branded sunscreens have been proven to exceed their SPF claims when used correctly.

Sunscreen being applied to child (file picture). Source:

Reported complaints where people were badly sunburned using the brand's sunscreen products sparked others to come forward this month.

However, results from four tests have come back and show the sunscreens tested to the exacting laboratory standards required.

There have been 49 complaints made to the Cancer Society about its sunscreen this season - 11 about allergic reactions and 38 about sunburn. Seven of the complaints have been taken to a formal process, which includes being tested.

Of those seven, laboratory results the first four of the sunscreens have been released to 1 NEWS which show no deviation in the products and no issues detected. The remaining three are yet to be tested.

Last season 65 people complained, with 11 going to a formal process. The year before there were 35 complaints and nine went to a formal process, and in 2015/2016 there were 59 complaints with 13 taken through the formal process.

None of the formal complaints investigated in the past six years had found an issue with the SPF label claims or overall quality of the products.

"While we can only rule out product defects through our investigation and testing, it is likely most complaints are instances of skin sensitivity or improper application," Cancer Society chief executive Mike Kernaghan said.

"All current Cancer Society branded sunscreen formulations have returned results that exceed the SPF claims on their label. For example, our SPF50+ Kids Pure sunscreen most recently delivered an SPF test result of 60," he said. 

Products require an SPF60 or over to achieve the SPF50 claim.

An Auckland mum complained about the brand's Kids Pure sunscreen after her 8-month-old daughter was burnt "beetroot red" while on a holiday to the Coromandel.

Mr Kernaghan earlier told 1 NEWS he believed the media attention of several cases of people complaining about being sunburned using Cancer Society sunscreens this year had prompted people to get in touch.

However, he said he had 100 per cent confidence in the brand and warned people to take extra measures to ensure sun safety as well as using sunscreen.

"The New Zealand sun is unforgiving. New Zealanders can use our products with confidence, but it must be applied correctly and used in conjunction with other sun smart measures," he said.

Mr Kernaghan advised people follow directions on the tube, as well as covering up and avoiding peak UV level times. He also advised people with sensitive skin types (including children) to patch test, as outlined on their products tubes, in advance to avoid reactions.

"Cancer Society sunscreens are manufactured in Australia under their strict medical manufacturing standards – the same used for pharmaceuticals like Panadol," Mr Kernaghan said.

"Every aspect of the manufacturing and packaging process is regulated, monitored and documented under the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Standards."