Cheaper sunscreens work better

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 15:38 06/12/2013
Sunscreen

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING: Consumers often pay for a label that has nothing to do with what is inside the bottle.

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Sunscreens available at the supermarket offer better protection than more expensive brands, Consumer NZ has found.

Consumer NZ tested 10 popular brands from supermarkets, pharmacies and health stories to see if they met their claims of water resistance.

Banana Boat Ultra SPF50+, Cancer Society Active SPF50+ and Nivea Sun Kids Swim & Play SPF50+ were the top sunscreens recommended by Consumer NZ. 

These brands were also some of the cheapest. Banana Boat cost $6.75 per 100ml, Cancer Society $11, and Nivea $12.66.

All offered "very high" SPF protection after four hours in water, and broad-spectrum protection.

SPF measures protection from sunburn caused by UVB radiation, while broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against UVA rays which cause premature aging.

The most expensive brands, Soleo Organics SPF30+ and Surfersskin SPF30+, at $38.38 and $19.96 per 100ml, were found to provide "moderate" protection, and Sufersskin offered no broad-spectrum protection. 

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said with some sunscreens, consumers were often paying for a label that had nothing to do with what was inside the bottle.

"That's why it's really good to know these three relatively inexpensive sunscreens that are at supermarkets have topped the tests."

The Cancer Society recommends 35ml for a full-body application, to be reapplied every two hours - which means a 200ml bottle might only last a family of four a day at the beach.

But it's a small price to pay to look after your skin, Cancer Society marketing manager Fiona Mawley said.

"You are paying for our brand name as well, but we've been around a long time and have great community support, so we're really proud of that."

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