The cheapest sunscreen to pass the Which? sun protection factor test in Britain was Aldi’s Lacura Suncare Spray SPF30 200ml at £2.79 — it costs €3.49 in stores here.
Another low-cost sunscreen to pass the test was Calypso SPF30 Press and Protect Lotion 200ml, costing £2.99 in Britain — the Irish price is around €3.50.
Also living up to its sun protection claim is Tesco’s Soleil Light Lotion SPF30 200ml that costs £3.50 in Britain and around €5 in its Irish stores.
Two other sunscreens that retail for around €5 in Ireland and provide their claimed level of protection are Malibu Protective Lotion SPF30 200ml and Superdrug Solait Lotion SPF30 200ml.
Avon’s £10 (€11.70) Sun+Multi Protection Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 150ml was the only product to fail the annual Which? SPF test, with the consumer group branding it a “don’t buy”.
Avon closed its Irish operations in April 2013 as part of a worldwide plan to cut jobs and make savings.
When Which? told Avon about their results the cosmetic company said it is confident in its testing which showed the lotion to have SPF 30 — their testing followed internationally recognised protocols and was conducted by external laboratories with specific expertise in the testing.
Which? assessed 14 sunscreen products from international brands such as Hawaiian Tropic and Nivea as well as high street own-brands.
Which? has been testing sunscreens for years and believes consumers need the reassurance that any product they buy is safe and lives up to its claims.
The consumer organisation wants to see more frequent testing of sunscreens by manufacturers; the addition of a use-by date, as well as the removal of confusing water resistance claims on sunscreens and makeup products.
Which? also repeated its warning to avoid ‘once a day’ products. Last year it tested four such products and found that none of them were up to the job.
The average drop in SPF after six to eight hours was 74%, which meant a hypothetical SPF30 product would drop to just SPF8.
The Irish Cancer Society said it is concerned by any report showing that sunscreens are not offering as much protection as they advertise, which was why they urge people not to rely on sun cream alone to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Every year in Ireland more than 10,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer and most cases are caused by UV rays from the sun.