Sunscreens… what a storm! Forgive the joke… for once, the weather has nothing to do with it. The metaphor is instead referred to the results of the tests just carried out by Altroconsumo, which tested high protection sun creams and sprays, discovering that two of the sixteen products brought to the laboratory “do not guarantee the protection they declare on the label: it is two products that can expose to burns, especially because they are intended for children”.

In particular, the examination by the consumer association has shown that the protective factor of 2 incriminating creams; would be respectively equal to 20.9 and 16.5, contrary to the value 50+ reported on the label. Here is our summary of what has just happened and some indications on the functioning of sunscreens and the real meaning of the protection factor.

Do some sunscreens lack the protective factor they promise?Reading the results of Altroconsumo’s analysis, good and bad news emerge. The good thing is that the results of the test on sunscreen with a 50+ protection factor were in principle “reassuring”, since “almost all of them respect the degree of protection shown on the label”. The bad news, as we said, is that “two products are an exception”, which were rejected, reported to the Ministry of Health and whose withdrawal from the market was requested.

The reactions

The replicas of the manufacturers of the two creams, of course, did not wait. In particular, Isdin pointed out that two independent studies (of 2015 and 2017) have certified that his product “has an SPF [sun protection factor] 50+ in accordance with the Iso 24444: 2010″, and that two other studies from 2018 have shown that the cream “has a Grape-Pf higher than 20 in accordance with the ISO standard 24444: 2010”. The other company explained in the same way that they had performed five tests between 2017 and 2019 (and had provided the results to Altroconsumo ), which confirmed the declared protection factor, and to have asked Altroconsumo “to be able to view the tests mentioned by the organization according to which the SPF and Uva-Pf values ​​would be lower than those reported on the product”, but that this comparison “aimed at settling any doubt […] was however denied by Altroconsumo.

Do some sunscreens lack the protective factor they promise?Who is right, then?

At the moment, with the information in our possession, it is difficult to say. For its part,  Altroconsumo  says it carried out a total of six tests using the ISO 2444: 2010 method (the same reported by the manufacturers of the companies) in two different laboratories ( here  – the few – details); on the other hand, companies know that they have conducted the same tests with the same method (on different lots, presumably) and have come to very different results.

So what should one do in this case? Maybe until further news, one should refrain from buying and/or using these products… just to be on the safe side, you know!