CTPA disappointed with Which? Sunscreen report

A recent report by consumer organisation Which? has advised consumers against buying certain sun protection products, after testing a range of sunscreens that were labelled with SPF 30 claims.  Two sun protection products were branded as bad choices after failing tests by the group.

The CTPA has responded by assuring consumers that sun protection products are one of the most studied and tested of all cosmetic products, and has said that it is “extremely disappointed” with the unfair view Which? has taken of these products, as it could jeopardise the confidence people have in the sunscreens they use.

The manufacturers involved have supplied robust data supporting their on-pack SPF 30 claims, says the CTPA, and “an SPF rating is not based on a single study alone but on a body of evidence to augment the results of a standardised test.”

“It is important to stress that the manufacturers in question (one is manufactured by Boots and the other is sold under the Hawaiian Tropic brand) have not based their SPF rating on just one test result, but on a whole package of supportive information,” added the statement by CTPA. This is significant because Which? tested products taken from shelf or provided by the manufacturer just once or twice. However, the CTPA accepts that in some instances when the Which? results showed a level of variability, and therefore unreliability, this would be unacceptable to any company with expertise in the field.  

The CTPA is assuring consumers that they can trust the labelling of sun protection products, owing to the expertise of the teams of scientists behind their development and the calculations, checks and rigorous repeated testing involved in the development process. It explained: “The final SPF number is one that has been anticipated right from the beginning and has been confirmed throughout the development process. If at any stage of the process the results were not consistent with what was expected, then re-testing and analysis would be performed and any necessary reformulation would take place.”