Sunscreen warning: Some brands fail tests

DON’T forget to pack some sunscreen when you go on holiday — but first make sure that it works.

Three well-known brands of sun lotion have been found not to offer the protection they promise.

The trio were given a “don’t buy” warning after they failed to live up to their advertised sun protection factors, with one brand providing less than half the SPF claimed on the bottle.

Tests reveal sun lotions sold by leading high street names such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer fail to provide the protection levels stated on the bottles.

Which? magazine warned consumers: “Our latest tests of sunscreens show that some could give you far less protection than you expect.”

An M&S cream claiming to offer sun protection factor 15 in fact scored a mere 7.1 in lab tests. In tests for the magazine, Tesco’s SPF15 cream came out at just 12, while Malibu High Protection Lotion provided an SPF level of 10.2 — not the 15 that it claimed.

SPF ratings are measured by timing how long skin that is covered with cream takes to burn compared with bare skin.

Best buy was Sainsbury’s factor 15 Sun Protection Lotion which had the highest protection level of 20.2.

Other highly rated brands included Asda Sun System, Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect, Nivea sun Moisturising Sun Spray, Boots Soltan Moistruing Sun Care Lotion and L’Oreal Solare Expertise Advances Anti-Ageing Sun Protection Lotion.

Tesco and M&S defended their products, saying they were tested to high standards.

M&S said: “We retested this product with our independent test house and those tests confirmed our product is, and in some results, exceeds, SPF 15.”

The manufacturers of Malibu also sought to reassure customers. A spokesman said they had every confidence in the efficacy of, and the accuracy of, the testing of their product.

Tesco told the magazine that validation was carried out on the batch tested by Which? and it was within specification.

Latest data from the National Cancer Registry shows there were over 6,800 new cases of skin cancer in Ireland in 2005.


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