'No good reason for a limited panel': Why sunscreen testing should respect all skin shades

By Julia Wray 25-Jul-2022

Historically, darker skinned consumers have been woefully underrepresented in consumer testing for sunscreens, but retail chain Superdrug is pushing for change

Superdrug announced earlier this year that it would be increasing SPF testing on darker skin tones by up to 35%, in an effort to improve inclusivity for customers.

The skin care industry, according to the A.S. Watson-owned retailer, typically focuses sunscreen testing on lighter skin types – and, as a result, only 4% of testers with darker skin are included in skin care trials.

Sunscreen testing uses the Fitzpatrick Scale to classify skin tone, which ranges from type 1 (pale white skin that always burns and never tans) to type 6 (very dark brown and black skin that never burns and tans easily).

The pledge forms a part of Superdrug’s Shades Of You campaign, launched in 2021, which saw the retailer commit to implementing ten actionable inclusivity changes across the business. Campaign research found that over a third of consumers (35%) did not feel represented when shopping for health and beauty products on the high street.

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