Which? tells consumers to ditch 'once a day' SPF products

Watchdog advises that single-application products do not provide adequate protection

Consumer watchdog Which? has questioned the claims of several 'once a day' SPF products after a series of tests. Which? tested the claims of four popular brands and found the level of sun protection offered dropped by 74% over six to eight hours.

Which? says that its findings mean a once a day product offering SPF30 protection would provide just SPF8 by the end of the day.

The products included in the trial were Soltan Once Invisible 8hr Sun Protection SPF 30, Piz Buin 1 Day Long Lotion SPF 30, Riemann P20 Once a Day Sun Protection SPF 30 and UltraSun Family SPF 30.

Alex Neill, Director of Policy and Campaigns, said: “Our testing shows that these sunscreens just don’t live up to their once-a-day claims so people should reapply sunscreens regularly to ensure they have protection from the sun.”

Neill added: “With more than 100,000 people diagnosed with skin cancer in the UK each year, some manufacturers need to do more to ensure their sunscreens live up to the claims on the packaging.”

The British Association of Dermatologists said that advice about how these products are used should be updated. It said: “Over the course of a day, sunscreen can be washed or wiped away, leaving our skin exposed. This is not to say that these ‘extended-wear’ sunscreens shouldn’t be used at all, rather that they should be used similarly to other sunscreens.”

Once a day SPF products are not available in Australia, which has banned marketing suggesting that SPF products do not require regular application. Which? believes that the UK should adopt a similar policy.

Dr Chris Flower, Director General of the CTPA, questioned the testing method used by Which?, that saw the level of sun protection measured after the subjects had been sitting in a chair and wearing a t-shirt. He said that this would cause undue friction and did not accurately represent how consumers usually use these products.

Flower added: “Extended wear sunscreens are valuable for people with an active outdoor lifestyle for whom reapplication of sunscreen is difficult or impossible. Careful formulation and extensive testing by the manufacturers ensure that we can be confident of the SPF labelling for both ‘extended wear’ and traditional sunscreens.”

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