You may have seen online discussions and suggestions on how to make your own sunscreens. This has also been reported in the media recently, where cancer and skin-specialist organisations as well as medical professionals have all expressed their alarm. The idea of people making their own sun protection products is of great concern to us at CTPA and we would urge you to take care and buy your sun protection products from a reputable retail outlet.
Confidence in products on the shelf
There are no short-cuts to making a sun protection product. Years of scientific research and testing goes into making each and every sunscreen and it takes whole teams of scientists to develop just one new product.
In addition, sun protection products are strictly regulated worldwide to ensure safety, and in Europe this is under the EU Cosmetics Regulation (1223/2009). This covers the ingredients allowed for use, the way the products are made, and the labelling and claims.
There is a wide range of products on the market to suit all skin types, lifestyles and budgets and you can be confident that they work effectively. As part of the strict European cosmetics safety legislation any claim (and an SPF number and UVA protection are claims) must be substantiated, and only approved UV filters from a positive list are allowed to be used.
We would like to stress that effective sun protection is extremely important for health. You should choose a product to suit your skin, but with a minimum of SPF 15 or SPF 30 depending on your skin type, and ensuring the product also has UVA protection. However sunscreens are just one part of a sun-safe regime and should never be used to stay longer in the sun.
Hermione Lawson from the British Skin Foundation says:
"Sunscreens are rigorously tested to ensure they are safe to use and deliver the stated SPF on the bottle. When it comes to an issue as serious as protecting yourself from skin cancer, it is not worth the risk of using a product where there is no way of knowing the SPF you are getting. Just one case of serious sunburn can significantly increase your risk of developing melanoma; the most deadly form of skin cancer."
More on testing:
In the EU the following tests are used by industry:
- SPF testing (to achieve the SPF number which indicates protection against UVB rays) - the ISO (International Standards Organisation) in vivo SPF Test Method
- For UVA protection (indicated on-pack with the letters UVA in a circle) - the ISO in vitroUVA Test Method.
These methods are published and validated which means that consumers can be confident in the protection claimed on-pack.