31 August 2017

by Sébastien Miksa – SUNCERT

Reliable sunscreen products are a major concern as the efficiency claiming has an impact on consumers’ health compared to other product claiming esthetic performance.

For this purpose, determination of this efficiency is crucial and different confidence levels in regards of standards compliance have been identified. Among these levels described in this article, we have companies (a) without experience in sunscreen testing, (b) with expertise in this field, (bc) participating in multicenter comparison, (bcd) with general quality system, (bcde) with technical quality system and (f) sunscreen testing certified.


Reliable sun protection performance assessment for claiming purpose is a main topic among all stakeholders involved in sunscreen field. Indeed, it is now well known that skin has to be protected against UVB (wavelength from 290 to 320 nm) and UVA (wavelength from 320 to 400 nm) rays. In recent publications, the key basis requirements for a reliable UV protection have been explored (1) with (i) sunscreen technology, (ii) product compliance, (iii) measurements methods, (iv) norms and labels including the (v) control of sunscreen testing as the last mandatory step (2). Therefore, it seems logical and compulsory to determine with the highest confidence this level of UV protection afforded by sunscreen products for consumers’ health.

For this purpose, in the sunscreen testing field, several recognitions are misused to try to certify that the controlled tests are compliant with standards to obtain reliable sun protection results. There are some examples such as auto-claiming experts, auto-certified quality tests, member of multicenter comparison, quality and technical certified system through the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards, Good Clinical Practices (GCP), Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), etc. Beyond this fact, some other laboratories also use the term FDA (Food Drug Administration) or TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) approved or registered and could take advantage of that reputation. Indeed, while this statement may be true, it is not a guarantee of the quality and relevance of the service especially in sun protection testing because these recognitions are more focused in general quality system.

Therefore, in the present article, the author explains the different confidence levels of sun protection results in a global approach according to theoretical percentage of standards compliance. For this purpose, several cases are described, starting from a new laboratory with a low confidence percentage to a sunscreen testing certified laboratory for the highest confidence percentage. As an evidence, this percentage is theoretical and some serious laboratories could reach higher percentage. Nevertheless, without a reliable monitoring and control by an external expert company, it sounds difficult to recognize them.


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