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Two Nivea and Garnier sun creams, including one for children, fail to pass Which? magazine's protection tests




Two popular sun creams - including a leading children's lotion - have been labelled as 'don't buy' products after failing Which? tests.

The consumer champion has tested 15 branded and own-label sun screens to see how effective they were at keeping the sun's harmful rays at bay and while most passed, two well known brands didn't, leading to a strong warning that they may not adequately protect users this summer.

Which? investigated both SPF and UVA performance for each bottle, alongside how easy the creams were to apply.

Two well known brands, including one designed for children, did not pass all of Which?'s tests
Two well known brands, including one designed for children, did not pass all of Which?'s tests

Garnier’s Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Spray SPF30 and children's sun cream Nivea’s Kids Protect & Care SPF50+ Spray both failed at least one 'key protection test' says Which?.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF), shows how much a product protects against UVB rays and is said to be one of the most important considerations when buying sunscreen, especially for young children who are likely to have more sensitive skin compared to adults.

Which? says Nivea’s Kids Protect & Care SPF50+ Spray failed its SPF test - falling far short of the SPF50 claim on the bottle. A further test on a second sample found the measured SPF was even lower resulting in its labelling by Which? as a 'don't buy' product.

Beiersdorf - makers of Nivea - disputes the findings.

A spokesman said: “The safety of our products is of utmost importance. Nivea Sun prides itself on its decades of experience in sun care and is dedicated to developing products that reliably and effectively protect against sun damage. When this product was independently tested in 2019 it achieved an SPF of 62. When we re-checked this batch, the result was a UVA protection factor of 25.8.

"Based on this data and our comprehensive quality requirements, we disagree with the reported Which? findings.”

Which? investigations tests SPF and UVA claims alongside how easy each cream was to use
Which? investigations tests SPF and UVA claims alongside how easy each cream was to use

Alongside SPF, sun creams are also designed to provide protection against UVA rays, which can lead to premature ageing along with skin cancer.

On bottles this is shown with a UVA seal - of a circle with 'UVA' stamped inside it - that shows it meets requirements.

Although Garnier’s Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Spray SPF30 passed the SPF test, it failed Which?’s UVA tests twice. The results, says Which?, were close to the minimum required for a pass but neither assessment 'made the grade'.

Thirteen own-label and branded sun creams did pass the Which? investigations
Thirteen own-label and branded sun creams did pass the Which? investigations

The company disputes the results and says in its own investigations the cream met all UVA standards.

A spokesman for makers L’Oreal said: “We take product efficacy very seriously. Our UVA claims are supported by robust photo protection testing carried out independently under ISO standard ISO 24443:2012 and meet the requirements of the European Recommendation for sun protection products.

"Given this, we are very surprised by the Which? results and have requested a meeting with the Which? researchers so our scientists can take them through our test results which confirm the efficacy of this product.”

The SPF30 sun creams which passed Which? UVA and SPF tests:

  • Asda Protect Cooling Clear Sun Mist, £3.50/200ml
  • Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise Spray, £4.50/200ml
  • Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise Lotion, £4/200ml
  • Garnier Ambre Solaire Protection Lotion, £5/200ml
  • Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection Sun Lotion, £6.50/180ml
  • Lloyds Pharmacy Solero Moisturising Sun Spray, £7/200ml
  • Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture Spray, £6/200ml
  • Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture Sun Lotion, £5/200ml
  • Superdrug Solait Moisturising Sun Lotion, £4.99/200ml
  • Wilko Suncare Sun Lotion, £3.50/200ml – available from Wilko

The SPF50+ kids sun screens which passed the UVA and SPF tests by Which?:

  • Boots Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Suncare Lotion, £4/200ml
  • Childs Farm Sun Cream, £12/125ml
  • Garnier Ambre Solaire Kids Sensitive Sun Protection Lotion, £7/200ml