I live in Marbella and these days we are all very concious of the damaging effects of the sun, out here that´s even more important, the Costa del Sol is named for its abundance of sun after all! Whilst we all want to enjoy the weather we would be wise to remember the principles of safe sunning; protect your head with a hat, stay out of the sun during its hottest period and wear plenty of sun cream. But are all sun creams delivering the protection they claim to?

A recent report by Consumer watchdog Which? highlighted some dubious players in the sun care game. Which? tested a number of well-known sun creams claiming to provide sun protection factor (SPF) 30. They tested whether the cream did in fact offer SPF 30 and also whether the cream met the EU recommendation for protection against UVA rays and finally they asked their participants to tell them how “pleasant” it was to apply.

Four of the 25 brands tested were classified by Which? as “Don´t Buy” products. Two products from the Hawaiian Tropic range failed to live up to their SPF 30 claim, the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion and its Satin Protection Lotion. Piz Buin Ultra Light Dry Touch Sun Fluid also failed the SPF claim and Boots Soltan Protect and Moisturise Lotion failed both the SPF claim and the application test. It is worth noting, however, that both Boots and Hawaiian Tropic have claimed all their products are rigorously tested and made statements refuting the report´s findings. Other critics have also argued that sun cream testing is generally made after the application of a thick layer and people aren´t always as thorough in their application of cream as they could be.

Which? did identify some eleven “Best Buys” though and Boots were back in favour with their Soltan Dry Touch Suncare lotion, Avon´s Sun Clear Spray was the top scorer for UVB, UVA and application, and products from the Nivea and Garnier Ambre range also did well. Morrisons M Sun Care Protect and Nourish Sun Spray was one of the cheapest tested and came out as a “Best Buy”, showing that paying a higher price for your sun cream doesn´t necessarily guarantee results.

Avoiding sunburn is paramount in the fight against cancer and applying a high factor sun cream is one of the best protections we can offer ourselves, so it´s essential that we can trust what it says on the bottle. But we have a responsibility too, we need to apply the cream according to instructions and be sensible. Wearing hats, shirts and sunglasses will also help protect us as will the shade. And seriously who wants to have lunch in the blazing sun or a burnt back for that matter?