Misleading SPF Labels

Consumer Reports has issued a new and updated list of failed sunscreens for the year. Of particular importance is the “Variation from SPF” column. SPF stands for sun protection factor and is a measure of how well a sunscreen guards against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. The ‘double down red arrow’ in the column of this report indicates a shocking miss of more than 50%.

An example would if you apply an SPF 50 but the product only delivers a SPF of 24. This means you think are adequately shielding your skin when you are not. Keep in mind that The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a product with an SPF of 30 or more.

Everyone, including babies 6 months and older, needs to use sunscreen. UVB rays, which are strongest from 10am to 4pm, are the chief cause of sunburn and a contributor to skin cancer. Depending on the natural pigment of your skin, your location and the sun’s location, you should re-apply sunblock at least every two hours. It is also smart to have more than one ‘sun safety strategy’. Even if you are using sunscreen, you should also sit in the shade and/or under an umbrella.

People may be more familiar with UVA rays which are present throughout the daylight hours, even on cloudy days. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and their damage can also lead to skin cancer, broken blood vessels, sagging and wrinkling. Individuals need broad spectrum coverage from UVA rays but currently there is no labeling system in the U.S. that indicates a sunscreen’s level of UVA protection.

In its recent posting, Consumer Report has shown sunscreens, including lotions, sprays, sticks and lip balms, that have failed to provide the level of protection promised on the packages. When you wear sunscreen, you should feel confident that you are being well-defended against UVA and UVB rays. You should also be receiving the actual level of protection promised on the label.

Napoli Shkolnik PLLC filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York alleging false and inflated SPF labels. A sampling of failed products include:

  • Babyganics mineral-based sunscreen lotion SPF 50+;
  • Babyganics mineral-based sunscreen spray SPF 50+;
  • Coppertone Sport High Performance Spray SPF50;
  • CeraVe (L’Oreal) Face Lotion 50;
  • Tom’s of Main Baby Lotion SPF 30 and;
  • Trader Joe’s Refresh Face & Body Lotion SPF 30.

If you or someone you know has used these products, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation.