Nine out of 20 sunscreen brands fail protection test - report

The Cancer Society is recalling one of its sunscreens after Consumer NZ testing found it didn't live up to its SPF50+ claims.

The organisation's Everyday product was one of nine sunscreens out of 20 that failed Consumer's testing

"We would have preferred to retest the batch to prove its effectiveness, however that would take eight weeks so we've made the call to voluntarily withdraw the batch from retailers now," said Mike Kernaghan, Cancer Society chief executive. 

"We remain 100 percent confident in the effectiveness of our sunscreen products because they are manufactured as a medicine in Australia and have been independently tested."

Consumer said its tests showed it had only SPF30 - meaning it lets through only one 30th of the radiation that would normally be absorbed by the skin.

"I would like to reassure the public there is no health risk, because even at the lower level of SPF30 that batch still provides high protection," said Kernaghan.

The batch being recalled has an expiry date of October 2021.

Consumer chief executive Sue Chetwin told Newshub many of the industry's big names are lying to the public.

"The Cancer Society, there's a SunSense Sunsense Ultra, there's a Banana Boat and a Marine Blue Australia one - they're all claiming 50-plus, but they're coming in around 20 to 26."

Sue Chetwin.
Sue Chetwin. Photo credit: The AM Show

She says the Cancer Society's solution of withdrawing the tested batch isn't good enough, and the Government needs to step in.

"How hard can it be for the Ministry of Health to put in place regulations that would make it mandatory for all sunscreens sold in New Zealand to have to achieve the Australia-New Zealand standard?

"We are extremely frustrated because we do have a very high rate of skin cancer and melanoma. We are almost tired of asking for some proper regulation."

Despite the poor showing, 2019's results are an improvement on 2018 when only three of 19 sunscreens tested met the claims on the bottle.

The full list of failed sunscreens

  • Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+ A Touch of Mango and Papaya
  • Invisible Zinc Face + Body Mineral Sunscreen SPF50
  • Natio Suncare Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF50+
  • Frankie Apothecary Natural Sunscreen + Kawakawa and Antioxidant SPF50
  • MooGoo Natural Sunscreen SPF40
  • Cancer Society Everyday Sun Lotion SPF50+
  • Marine Blue Australia Dry Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+
  • Sunsense Ultra SPF50+
  • Banana Boat Dry Balance Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+

Sunscreens that passed the test

  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid SPF50+
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+
  • Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+
  • Smart365 Sun Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+
  • Oasis Sun Sport PA++++ SPF40
  • Badger Sport Unscented Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream SPF35
  • My Sunshine Natural Sunscreen + Antioxidants SPF30
  • Solzinc Natural Sun Protection 30+