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SPF Test Debate Sizzles

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: October 10, 2008, from the February 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 6 of 6

“The distortion of SPF as tested as opposed to what is applied has led many to wonder about better alternatives,” said Steinberg. “The distortion is being compounded now with suggested UVA testing. The Japanese PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) method for determining amount of UVA protection is a ratio similar to SPF but for UVA, which, unfortunately, calls for the same high amount to be used. It is clear we can’t change SPF test methods to reflect reality. One suggestion is to continue SPF and the number, but have real product category designations of low, medium and high sunburn protection based on what is really applied—like 0.2 milligrams per square centimeter.”

“When all is said and done, we are seeking protection from sunburn. Put your SPF on, but let’s have a new thing called Sunburn Protection, and run an in vivo test using a level that people actually apply,” Steinberg added. “If we could get the world to buy into this—consumers, dermatologists and the medical community—then it will be done and it will start going on labels. Ultimately, you should be allowed to make only two claims: your product is broad spectrum and it protects against UVA/UVB rays.”