Which? Reveals Do and Don’t Buy Suntan Lotions

Skin cancer is at an all time high, and the number of British sufferers is rising at an alarming rate.

As cases of skin cancer rise, more and more suntan lotions are entering the market place, all with varying price tags, all supposedly offering the same protection. 

Often we assume that the more expensive brands offer the better protection. However, alarmingly, with suntan lotions, this doesn’t appear to be the case according to a special report by consumer watchdog, Which? In fact, some of the ‘biggest’ and ‘best’ brands that we know and trust are being beaten by much cheaper supermarket brands.

Adhering to strict British Standard testing environments, Which? carried out an independent survey looking at both the SPF and the UVA claims, and the results were startling.

What are SPF, UVB and UVA, and why are they so important?

SPF is the level of protection that the suntan lotion/cream offers above the rate at which a person’s own skin would burn without protection. For example, if a person went red with signs of burning after 5 minutes, an SPF 30 lotion would prevent burning for up to 2.5 hours – 30 x the rate at which the person would burn.  

It is advised that children do not use a sunscreen below 30 SPF, and adults below 20 SPF.

It's the UVB in the sun's rays that causes skin to burn, and can cause skin cancer.

What is UVA YStar Ratings?
UVA is also found in the sun’s rays, and as well as causing premature aging, is also attributed to the cause of skin cancer.

It is advised that both children and adults should not use a cream that has less than a 5 star UVA rating.

Which? Best Buys
Passing the Which? test (in no particular order) were:

  • Aldi Lacura, SPF 30 at £2.49 for 200ml
  • Asda Protect Sun Lotion, SPF 30 at £1.75 for 200ml
  • Boots Soltan Dry Touch Sun Care Lotion, SPF 30 at £5.50 for 200ml
  • Avon Sun Clear Spray, SPF30 at £12 for 150ml
  • Sainsbury’s Sun Protect Lotion 5* UVA, SPF 30 at £4 for 200ml
  • Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist, SPF 30 at £8.50 for 200ml
  • Garnier Ambre Solaire Moisturising Milk, SPF 30 at £7.25 for 200ml
  • Calypso, SPF 30 at £2.99 for 200ml
  • Nivea Sun Protect and Moisture Sun Lotion, SPF 30 at £11.99 for 200ml

Which? Do NOT Buys
Failing the Which? tests not once, but twice were:

  • Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protect Ultra Radiance Sun Lotion, SPF 30 at £13.99 for 200ml
  • Malibu Protective Lotion, SPF30 at £5.99 for 200ml
  • Piz Buin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid, SPF 300 at £17 for 150ml
  • Boots Soltan Protect and Moisture, SPF 30 at £5.50 for 200ml

URBAN MYTH – “The sun isn’t the same in the UK as it is abroad so it’s not as strong or harmful”

This is completely untrue. It’s important to understand that, contrary to popular belief, the sun here in the UK is the same sun when abroad and it’s just as harmful.

It’s just as important to protect ourselves in this country as it is on holiday abroad.