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Cosmetics Europe reacts to the report by OCU


21 March 2024 – Providing safe and effective cosmetic products to consumers is a priority for the cosmetics and personal care industry. Therefore, Cosmetics Europe is very concerned about the report published today by the Spanish Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) that questions the efficacy of certain sunscreen products available on the European market.

Manufacturers’ sunscreen development regimes are lengthy, robust and based on a wealth of evidence in addition to product testing. Sunscreens are among the most studied and tested cosmetic products and, like all other cosmetics, have to comply with very rigorous EU legislation requiring them to be assessed for safety and efficacy. Stringent protocols and clear standards are employed to confirm the efficacy of the sunscreen products. These include the use of reliable and validated evaluation methods such as ISO 24444:2019, most often employed by third-party laboratories (Contract Research Organizations, CROs) to evaluate the SPF and UVA protection of the products. Having highly qualified personnel and specific knowledge to apply the method parameters and interpret the results accurately is crucial. Testing may also need to be re-confirmed when placing products outside of the EU market.

We have full confidence in the safety and efficacy of the sunscreen products our sector offers. Consumers can remain assured that the sunscreens the manufacturers put on the market provide their claimed SPF and UVA protection.

The OCU report refers to products that were re-tested with an alternative test method (HDRS method) as well as in vivo (ISO 24444:2019) and claims to have found, in some cases, levels of SPF lower than indicated on the label. While the HDRS method has not been yet validated by ISO, such results from the in vivo testing would seem to go beyond the usual test variability levels. The investigation in ongoing as to how these discrepancies can be explained. We hope that OCU will share the data they based their report on to facilitate this process.

Sunscreens play an important role in protecting consumers from the damage and risks linked to exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV filters included in products available on the market today have been safely used for decades and are critical in preventing sunburn, skin cancer, premature skin ageing and photo dermatosis. Health professionals, authorities, organizations, or foundations worldwide consistently advocate for the use of sunscreens as part of a safe-sun regimen.


Cosmetics Europe is the European trade association for the cosmetics and personal care industry. Our members include cosmetics and personal care manufacturers as well as associations representing our industry at national level, right across Europe.

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