Cosmetics industries harmonise global sunscreen testing

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sunscreen

Cosmetics industry bodies in Europe, the USA, Japan and South
Africa have signed an agreement to unify sunscreen product testing
- a move that takes the industry one step closer to having
internationally recognized sunscreen labelling codes.

An agreement was signed at the Colipa Annual General Meeting, held in Estoril Portugal, 31 May - 2 June, between representative from industry bodies for the respective markets.

"It is expected that more regions and countries will recognise the guidelines in the near future. Furthermore, all four industry associations are actively engaged within the framework of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) to promote the recognition of these guidelines as an ISO standard,"​ commented Colipa, the European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, in a statement.

Many consumers are faced with the challenge of determining which sun protection product will best suit their skin at the best of times. This problem has been further exacerbated for consumers purchasing sunscreens when they travel to other markets, where labeling codes have varied according to testing requirements.

But equally the new approach will also help sunscreen manufacturers wishing to market their products internationally. This is because the move allows manufacturers to develop products for all markets from one research and development centre, using just one test.

"Until now testing requirements have varied from market to market making it difficult for sunscreen manufacturers to develop products for the international market,"​ said a Colipa spokesperson.

"In particular the US market has had a very different criteria for the testing and labelling of its products laid down by the FDA. This moves means that the US market can now move closer towards the regulations that are currently in place for other international markets."

The SPF labelling on sunscreens has in recent years become a key means to identify the right product for individuals. This latest move means that international companies now have a more widely recognized means of backing the SPF labelling on products.

"Consumers, control authorities and companies will all see benefits. Consumers can be assured that the same high-quality testing standard has been applied regardless of the country where they buy the products and authorities will have a tool to control the substantiation of SPF claims made by companies.

"The agreement on the International Industry Guidelines on common SPF Testing Method clearly demonstrates that cooperation between industry associations can benefit consumers, control authorities and industry on a global scale," the Colipa spokesperson added.

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