Most sunscreens with SPF 50+ claims do not live up to expectations, according to consumer advocate group Choice. The group tested six SPF 50+ sunscreens and found most were misleading and only two met the claim of SPF50+.

The group assessed the participants for the effects of UV light, emitted from a lamp, on their body parts with and without sunscreen. A sunscreen with SPF50+ must achieve a minimum SPF of 60. Banana Boat Baby Finger Spray and Banana Boat Sport tube, Ombra Kids roll-on and the Ego Sunsense Sport failed Choice’s test. Only Cancer Council Classic 50+ and NiveaSun Kids SPF50+ provided accurate claims.

“Australians have one the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, making sunscreens an essential part of outdoor life,” said Choice’s head of media, Tom Godfrey, Sydney Morning Herald reports. “So it is deeply concerning these products are not providing their stated level of protection."

Manufacturers disputed the group’s claim, producing test certificates that prove their products’ quality. Differences between the prototype and post-production products, inconsistency between batches and poor storage conditions are cited as possible reasons for the results.

Kerryn Greive, Ego Pharmaceuticals' scientific affairs manager, said that Ego SunSense Sport’s claim is truthful and has been tested and approved according to Australian standards.

"Our consumers have no reason to be concerned by these abnormal results,” Greive claimed. “Every SunSense product is tested for quality at our laboratories and SunSense sunscreens are subject to regular and on-going stability testing to ensure quality and consistency."

A Therapeutics Good Australia (TGA) spokesman said the regulator would consider Choice's findings to determine what action must be taken. TGA can remove the product once a breach in legislative requirements, concerns relating to quality, efficacy and safety have been identified.

Cancer Council Australia reports that skin cancer accounts for 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers annually. Ninety-five per cent to 99 per cent of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. Sunscreens that offer SPF 30+ filter out 96.7 per cent of UV radiation while the ones with SPF50+ filter out 98 per cent, enough to provide high levels of protection. However, SPF is still ineffective if applied inadequately.

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