The New Sunscreen NZ Regulations Explained
Everything You Need to Know About Sunscreen Regulations
Shocking but true - sunscreens being sold in New Zealand have not needed to be independently tested or certified for SPF claims before now. A law change that came into effect on the 8th September 2022 means any company whose sunscreen product fails to meet its advertised SPF could be fined up to $600,000 with the commencement of the Sunscreen Act.
With the highest rate of melanoma in the world (Melanoma New Zealand), it is pretty crazy that sunscreen brands haven't needed to back up their SPF claims until now. Just yesterday, an Australian skincare company pleaded guilty to false claims as it failed to meet its SPF claims. Why? Because the lab they used to do their SPF testing (AMA Laboratories in the US) falsified results.
So, how do you know if your sunscreen meets the new standards? Does Seasick Sunscreen as a "natural" sunscreen need to meet the new regulations? There's no need for you to get burnt, physically or metaphorically...just read on and find our all you need to know about the new sunscreen regulations in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our Sunscreen Meets the New Sunscreen SPF Regulations
First things first, all of our sunscreens are independently tested to the New Zealand Sunscreen Standard (AS/NZS 2604:2021) by Eurofins Dermatest in Australia (the same lab that does the Consumer NZ testing).
Eurofins Dermatest is a trusted provider of sunscreen and skin care product evaluation services to international and local clients in accordance with recognised global protocols. A photo of our most recent SPF test report for the Daily Face and Body Sunscreen is shown above. Phew, don't sweat it - we've got you covered!
How Sunscreen is Tested
Dermatest conducts SPF testing using a solar simulator, which imitates the UV light emitted by the sun. The testing is conducted on humans. The sunscreen is applied to small areas of the back, then exposed to UV light for varying periods of time. The patches are then evaluated after 16 to 24 hours to identify the first area showing slight sunburn. This is used to calculate the SPF. To meet the new regulations you must complete the full 10 person SPF study - something we have been doing since we started way back in 2019!
“Until now the sunscreen standard has only been voluntary in New Zealand and it was possible to sell a sunscreen that hadn’t undergone any efficacy testing.” - Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy
What do the new regulations mean for natural sunscreens?All sunscreens must meet the new requirements whether they claim to be "natural" or not. Natural sunscreens usually refer to sunscreens made with mineral UV filters such as zinc, as opposed to chemical UV filters. It can be a misleading term - find out whether your sunscreen is really "100% natural" and "chemical free" .
What to Look For
Check your sunscreen for this label:
AS/NZS 2604:2012 (or it might say 2021 if it has been tested more recently).
If in doubt, ask a sunscreen brand to provide its SPF report and stay clear of sunscreens doing their testing at dodgy labs that are known to falsify claims. We are happy to provide a full copy of our results for the 10 person study, just email us and we will send you a copy.