What SPF20 means...

What SPF20 means...
As you know, Consumer NZ’s sunscreen test showed that our Family+ SPF30 was achieving only SPF20. We now know why, and we are correcting the formulation. However, it has been apparent that some consumers have assumed that consumer health has been put at risk. This is a natural conclusion, since one would intuitively think that a reduction by 10, must mean a big loss of protection. But that is not how the SPF scale works. In fact, a SPF30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, and a SPF20 blocks 95%. So, if the SPF20 sunscreen blocks an equivalent amount of UVA, it is classified as providing ‘moderate’ UV protection, as opposed to ‘high’ protection for SPF30+.

The Consumer NZ test, quite logically, used the AS/NZS test, and on one part of the UVA test, called the critical wavelength (CW), the Family+ failed by 1.5nm against the 370nm CW. What many consumers don’t know is that there are several, internationally accepted sunscreen standards, and some make specific allowance for variation in testing methods. In this respect, the Family+ is rated 3-Stars under the UK’s Boots Star Rating, which means that it is UVA certified. That means that even though the Family+ did not attain SPF30, it is still a broad-spectrum sunscreen providing moderate UV protection. That is quite different from the conclusion that consumer health has been put at risk.

We don’t offer any excuses for the Family+ failing to make SPF30. We should not have released the sunscreen until, as we had done with the Active Outdoor SPF30 and the Everyday SPF15, completed certification. And because we used the same supply of zinc oxide in recent batches of the other two sunscreens, we’ve withdrawn all of them until we have re-tested all. We also agree with Consumer NZ that all sunscreens should be tested mandatorily, and that any change in the primary active(s) should be a trigger for re-testing.

Once again, we apologise to our customers. We made an assumption about the formulation’s performance that we should not, and you can be sure we won’t make the same mistake again. We hope though, that this allays some fears.


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