Ultimate guide to sun creams including one major brand that FAILED safety tests


Big brand and expensive sunscreens may not offer the protection against skin damage they profess to on the label, it is claimed.

The alarming findings come from safety experts at Which?, who found a number of cheaper supermarket alternatives offer strong protection.

The consumer champion said that one Avon product ‘did not come close’ to hitting its claimed SPF30 protection in tests.

Most suncreams carry an SPF – Sun Protection Factor – and a UVA rating which are measures of protection against the rays associated with skin damage and cancer.

People rely on the information to guide them on how long they can safely stay out in the sun during heatwaves.

Which? tested 19 popular suncreams, with one being identified as a 'don't buy' because it failed safety protection tests

Which? tested 19 popular suncreams, with one being identified as a ‘don’t buy’ because it failed safety protection tests

It said Avon's Refreshing 3-in-1 Face and Body Sun Lotion SPF30 (£5.75/150ml) 'did not come close to hitting its claimed SPF30 in tests'

It said Avon’s Refreshing 3-in-1 Face and Body Sun Lotion SPF30 (£5.75/150ml) ‘did not come close to hitting its claimed SPF30 in tests’

Which? tested 19 popular suncreams, with one being identified as a ‘don’t buy’ because it failed safety protection tests.

It said Avon’s Refreshing 3-in-1 Face and Body Sun Lotion SPF30 (£5.75/150ml) ‘did not come close to hitting its claimed SPF30 in tests’.

Dermatologists say sunscreen should be free to protect all  

Leading dermatologists who fear that deprived families could miss out on protection have said sunscreen should be made free. 

Professor Mabs Chowdhury, president of the British Association of Dermatologists, told The Guardian it was ‘concerning’ that people might not be buying suncream as a result of increasing prices. 

A survey by Melanoma Focus found that 50 per cent think sunblock is too expensive – and 10 per cent don’t use it because of the cost. 

Julian Peace, deputy chair at the Primary Care Dermatology Society, said ideally the protective cream would be given out for free. 

He added: ‘The highest piority would be organising a provision for children… There is a voucher scheme available for vitamin D supplements – under the ‘healthy start’ scheme – and this may be a system by which supplies of sunscreen could be allocated to those most in need.’  

Which? said: ‘Consumers are advised to avoid this product. By not living up to its SPF claims, it does not offer adequate sun protection, meaning people using them could unwittingly put themselves at risk.

‘With parts of Britain in the grip of a heatwave, it is vital people protect themselves from harmful UVA and UVB rays that could lead to skin damage and cause skin cancer.’ 

The group said products with good protection do not have to break the bank.

For example, several of Asda’s products passed sun protection tests and earned a Which? Great Value badge for their low prices.

These included Asda Protect Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 at just £3 for 200ml. Testers said it was absorbed easily without being greasy or sticky and did not leave white marks on skin.

Among slightly more expensive spray products, testers found Asda’s Protect Refreshing Clear Sun Spray at £4 for 200ml was easy to apply, not tacky to touch and did not leave any visible residue. Most importantly, it gave the required SPF and UVA protection in lab tests.

The Asda products outshone premium Ultrasun Family SPF30, which was over seven times more expensive at £26 for 150ml. Both were highly effective against UV, however Ultrasun was not as easily absorbed.

Boots also fared well in the testing and earned a Which? Great Value badge for its low price. Its Soltan Protect & Moisturise Lotion (SPF30) at £4 for 200ml delivered all the protection required.

In the children’s category at products with an SPF of 50+, first place went to Asda’s Kids Sun Lotion Spray, at £3.60 for 200ml.

Another another great value option was Boots Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Lotion, at £4 for 200ml.

The Which? Head of Home Products and Services, Natalie Hitchens, said: ‘It is great to see cheaper sunscreen options available on the high street and in supermarkets at a time where consumers need affordable options.

‘However, it’s a concern to find a big brand product on the market that has failed our testing and did not offer the level of protection claimed on the packaging.

‘Our advice is to stick to a tried and tested suncream. Do not be fooled into thinking that paying a higher price will definitely mean a better or safer product as our testing proved a supermarket own brand product can do the job well.

‘We’ve found plenty of highly effective, cheap sunscreens available on the high street, so there’s no need to splash out to keep you and your loved ones safe in the sun.’

Avon said it stands behind its product, but promised an investigation. It said: ‘The safety of our customers is our priority and that’s why our expert skincare team produces the most effective sun care formulas.

‘Upon hearing from Which? Avon has engaged its quality and research and development teams to investigate the specific batch of product that Which? tested.

‘Avon stands behind its data and that of the independent labs which conduct our testing.’

Revealed: Results of Which?’s sun cream analysis in full 

Fails

Avon’s Refreshing 3-in-1 Face and Body Sun Lotion SPF30, £5.75/150ml

SPF30 Passes

Asda Protect Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30, £3/200ml

Asda Protect Refreshing Clear Sun Spray SPF30, £4/200ml

Avon Sun Body Cream SPF30, £5/150ml

Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise Lotion, SPF30, £4/200ml

Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise Spray SPF30, £4.50/200ml

Calypso Press & Protect Sun Lotion SPF30, £5/200ml

Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture SPF30 lotion, £6/200ml

Piz Buin Allergy Sun Sensitive Skin Lotion SPF30, £8/200ml

Superdrug Solait Moisturising Sun Cream Lotion SPF30, £4.99/200ml

Superdrug Solait Moisturising Sun Cream Spray SPF30 High, £5.49/200ml

Ultrasun Family SPF30, £22/200ml

SPF50+ passes

Asda Kids Sun Lotion Spray SPF 50+ High, £4/200ml

Boots Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Lotion, SPF50+, £4/200ml

Childs Farm 50+ SPF Sun Lotion Spray, £12/100ml

Childs Farm SPF50+ Kids Roll-on Sun Lotion, £10/50ml

Nivea Sun Kids Protect & Care SPF50+ Spray, £6.50/200ml

Sainsbury’s Sun Protect By Sainsburys Kids Lotion Sun Spray SPF50+, £5.00/200ml

Superdrug Solait Kids SPF 50+ Roll-on Sun Lotion, £3.49/100ml



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