Ultimate guide to high street sunscreens – including a major brand that has NOT passed safety testing and a ?3 proprietary product that ranks among the best
Big brands and expensive sunscreens may not provide the skin damage protection they claim on the label, it is claimed.
The alarming findings come from security experts at Which?, who found that a number of cheaper supermarket alternatives offer strong protection.
The consumer champion said one Avon product “didn’t come close” to achieving the claimed SPF30 protection in tests.
Most sunscreens have an SPF – Sun Protection Factor – and a UVA rating, measures of protection against the rays associated with skin damage and cancer.
People rely on the information to determine how long they can safely stay in the sun during heat waves.
Which? 19 popular sunscreens tested, one of which was flagged 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) ‘didn’t come close to achieving the claimed SPF30 in tests’
Which? Tested 19 popular sunscreens, one of which was flagged 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) ‘didn’t come close to the claimed SPF30 in tests’.
Which? said: ‘Consumers are advised to avoid this product. By not living up to its SPF claims, it doesn’t provide adequate sun protection, meaning people using it could be unknowingly putting themselves at risk.
‘With parts of Britain gripped by a heat wave, it is vital that people protect themselves from harmful UVA and UVB rays which can lead to skin damage and cause skin cancer.’
The group said products with good protection shouldn’t break the bank.
For example, several Asda products have passed sun protection tests and a Which? Great Value badge for their low prices.
These include Asda Protect Moisturizing Sun Lotion SPF30 for just ?3 for 200ml. Testers said it absorbed easily without being greasy or sticky and did not leave any white marks on the skin.
Of the slightly more expensive spray products, testers found Asda’s Protect Refreshing Clear Sun Spray at ?4 for 200ml was easy to apply, non-sticky to the touch and left no visible residue. Most importantly, it provided the required SPF and UVA protection in lab tests.
The Asda products surpassed premium Ultrasun Family SPF30, which was more than seven times more expensive at ?26 for 150ml. Both were very effective against UV, but Ultrasun was not absorbed as easily.
Boots also performed well in the tests, earning a Which? Great Value badge for its low price. The Soltan Protect & Moisturise Lotion (SPF30) at ?4 for 200ml provided all the protection required.
In the kids category of products with an SPF of 50+, Asda’s Kids Sun Lotion Spray took first place at ?3.60 for 200ml.
Another great value option was Boots Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturize Lotion, at ?4 for 200ml.
The which one? Head of Home Products and Services, Natalie Hitchens, said: ‘It’s great to see cheaper sunscreen options available on the high street and supermarkets at a time when consumers need affordable options.
?However, it is a concern to find a product from a major brand on the market that has not passed our tests and does not provide the level of protection claimed on the packaging.
‘Our advice is to stick to a proven sunscreen. Don’t be fooled into thinking that paying a higher price definitely means a better or safer product, as our testing has shown that a supermarket’s own brand product can do the job well.
“We’ve found plenty of highly effective, low-cost sunscreens available on the high street, so there’s no need to splash around to keep you and your loved ones safe in the sun.”
Avon said it stands behind its product, but promised an investigation. It read: ‘The safety of our customers is our priority, which is why our expert skin care team produces the most effective sun care formulas.
‘On hearing Which? Avon engaged its quality and research and development teams to investigate the specific product lot that Which? tested.
“Avon stands behind its data and that of the independent labs that conduct our testing.”
Revealed: Full results of Which?
Avon’s Refreshing 3-in-1 Face & Body Sun Lotion SPF30, ?5.75 / 150ml
Asda Protect Moisturizing Sun Lotion SPF30, ?3/200ml
Asda Protect Refreshing Clear Sun Spray SPF30, ?4/200ml
Avon Sun Body Cream SPF30, ?5/150ml
Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturize Lotion, SPF30, ?4/200ml
Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturize 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 Moisturizing Sun Cream Lotion SPF30, ?4.99 / 200ml
Superdrug Solait Moisturizing Sun Cream Spray SPF30 High, ?5.49 / 200ml
Ultrasun Family SPF30, ?22/200ml
Asda Kids Sun Lotion Spray SPF 50+ High, ?4/200ml
Boots Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturize 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 Sunscreen, ?3.49 / 100ml