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Sunscreen products

Sunscreen products protect against UV radiation. They are cosmetics according to Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009. The efficacy of sunscreen products, and the basis on which this efficacy is claimed are important public health-issues.

In particular:

  • Products should contain protection against all dangerous UV radiation
  • An indication of the efficacy of sunscreen products should be simple, unambiguous, and meaningful; and it should be based on standardised, reproducible criteria
  • Labels and claims should provide sufficient information to help consumers choose the appropriate product and apply it correctly.

The Recommendation on the efficacy of sunscreen products and the claims made relating to them, adopted in 2006, addresses these issues and sets out the:

  • claims which should not be made in relation to sunscreen products
  • precautions to be observed including application instructions
  • minimum efficacy standard for sunscreen products in order to ensure a high level of protection of public health
  • simple and understandable labelling to assist in choosing the appropriate product.

Testing and standardisation

The testing methods referred to in this recommendation are currently subject to standardisation by the European Committee for Standardization CEN. The standardisation mandatepdf (384 kB) for these testing methods is included in the Database for Standardisation mandates of Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (go to free text search – “sunscreen”).

In order to indicate that a sunscreen product offers a minimum UVA protection as recommended in paragraph 11 and 14 of the Recommendation, Cosmetics Europe has issued a standardised UVA-label, the so-called 'UVA-logo'. This new label is downloadable from the Cosmetics Europe website.

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