EU bans misleading sunscreen claims

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has welcomed an EU ban on misleading claims about the level of protection sunscreen provides.

The European Commission has ruled that claims such as "total protection" "sun blocker" and "100 per cent anti-UVA/UVB" are false and should not be used.

"It is impossible to offer this, so no such products can exist," said a commission spokesman.

It is also to propose a new protection rating system to replace "sun protection factor", which currently only measures the UVB rays that cause sunburn but not the UVA rays which age the skin and can contribute to skin cancer.

"It is important to take care in the sun and, among other things, to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks out UVA as well as UVB rays," said Genevieve Frisby, campaign manager for Cancer Research UK's SunSmart campaign.

"Because there is no international measurement for UVA protection, it can be confusing for consumers to know if their sunscreen gives them enough UVA protection.

"We would welcome a standardised system of labelling sunscreens that would give clearer information about the level of protection it provides.

"The most effective way for people to reduce skin cancer risk is to protect their skin from burning in the sun," she added.

The new system will rate sunscreen on the protection it offers against both forms of rays, with a guarantee that it provides at least a third as much protection against UVB as UVA.

Visit Cancer Research UK?s SunSmart website