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SPF claims - what is all the racket about?

Sara Lockett

There has been a lot of talk in the media about sunscreens over the past week, which has coincided with some extremely hot weather across the country, so I believe it deserves a mention about now.

One thing I would like to stand by is that the NUDE in The Nude Alchemist stands for transparency. I have NEVER claimed a specific SPF number (as clearly stated in the product description on the website) as I haven't got the Sun-Barrier Cream tested yet, as it is a very costly venture for a small business - I aim to change this in 2018 with your help (watch this space!).

So WHY are SPF numbers not living up to claims on popular brands?
  1. SPF testing is not compulsory here in NZ. Companies are only ‘encouraged’ to have evidence to support the SPF and broad spectrum protection claimed. How ridiculous is this?
  2. Testing on new formulations are not necessarily carried out, which are important as different active ingredients would change the SPF rating.
  3. Regular testing is not necessarily carried out to ensure consistency between batches
  4. Lack of consistency between labs across the world
  5. Storage conditions - like with anything sunscreens deteriorate over time especially if kept in a warm place. 
  6. The standard SPF testing is based on human subjects. Testing on humans always throws the variability spanner in there. 
Whatever you choose, be informed, and make an educated decision about your family's protection this summer.