Consumers confused over sunscreen terminology

Consumers have admitted to confusion over the terms ‘SPF', ‘allergen-free' and ‘high protection' and are misinterpreting labelling information on sunscreens.

According to new research, one in ten people did not understand what SPF means (sun protection factor) and three out of ten did not understand the meaning of ‘broad spectrum'.

Irish skincare brand Elave Sun carried out the survey which showed that more than half of consumers asked did not know what is meant by ‘allergen-free‘ on a label, and 25% thought the term ‘high protection' refers to both UVA and UVB rays.

In addition to misunderstanding terminology, there's also confusion around the correct use of sunscreen. Four out of ten respondents believe that sunscreen is waterproof and 10% consider it enough to apply sunscreen ‘once or twice a day' whilst 15% think that SPF30 protects skin for 30 minutes.

Commenting on the worrying results, Joanna Gardiner, CEO of Elave Sun, says:

“Understanding the information on a sunscreen label is essential when it comes to choosing the right formulation to protect your particular skin against burning, photo ageing and more harmful side effects.

“While much progress has been made on educating the public about how to stay safe in the sun, our survey indicates that work remains to be done. That includes a responsibility on manufacturers to clearly label their formulations.”

Gardiner Family Apothecary