Jersey Consumer Council

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Don’t get Burnt by Suncream Deals

November 12, 2015 Consumer Skills, Health Matters No Comments

Don’t get burnt by suncream deals

Even though medical experts and scientists advise that we should be slathering the stuff on all year long, it is generally during the summer when many of us remember we should be using suncream. Increased awareness about the danger of skin cancer has made suncream a £100 million industry per year. But it has also made it easy to convince consumers to spend much more than necessary to protect themselves in the sun.

For suncream to be effective, experts say, it needs to be applied, properly and liberally, using 40ml at a time, and then reapplied every two hours or after being in the water. In warm weather, that can mean a lot of suncream, especially for families — but it doesn’t have to burn a hole through your pocket.
Twelve well known suncream brands were tested by Which?, all of which stated they protected against UVA and UVB rays – both of which have been linked to skin cancer. UVA rays are linked to premature aging of the skin, and UVB rays are the main cause of sun burn. Shockingly, three products from big brands Hawaiian Tropic, Malibu and Piz Buin failed their protection test.

On the other hand, five products costing £2 per 100ml or less all passed their strict laboratory tests. By contrast, at £11.33 per 100ml, one of their ‘Don’t Buys’ costs a staggering nine times as much as the cheapest ‘Best Buy’.

Various suncream brand prices are “established” in certain retail outlets, at what critics say are artificially high levels so they can be cut to “half price” to give shoppers the false impression they are obtaining a bargain. So beware of deals that might be misleading and stick to buying suncream with the top protection, not the top price.

Interestingly, suncreams with an SPF of greater than 50, will not significantly protect you any more than an SPF 30. However, they are usually far more expensive. Suncream with an SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98%.

When purchasing suncream, ensure that the product offers UVA and UVB, 5 star protection. Don’t forget to apply the cream (or spray/gel) liberally and wait for at least 30 minutes before going into the sun.

Invest in the product’s ingredients and the protection rating, not the brand name.

You can find information on the full study of Best Buy Suncreams at

Martin Knight , Head of Health Improvement adds ‘Skin cancer rates in Jersey are higher than those in the UK, but the good news is that around 90% of skin cancer is preventable. The best way to enjoy the sun safely and protect your skin from sunburn is to use a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and protects against both UVA and UVB.’


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