Tested: Best and worst sun creams revealed as the weather warms up

As the weather gets hotter, we all need to be applying some SPF...
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  • The best sun cream has been revealed by Which?, as well as the other sun creams that have passed their SPF and UVA testing and the ones that haven't.

    You only want to use the best sun cream on your little ones and yourself. You can’t however tell which ones are good – or which ones last all day – simply by looking at the brand or the price tag. Thanks to Which? we now know which sunscreen we’ll be using in future.

    We all know sun creams are an absolute necessity, in fact they’re probably one of the first things you buy before a holiday, or pack before a day in the summer sunshine.

    But they can be expensive, especially considering they don’t last very long! You shouldn’t be keeping a sun cream for longer than 12 months, as it can make the UV protection ineffective.

    MORE: How to keep your house cool in summer

    At least when you pick up a bottle of sun cream in the shops you know it’s got all the protection you and your family need, right?

    Maybe not. When consumer watchdog Which? tested an array of well-known sunscreen including Lidl sun cream and a popular Aldi sun cream too, that all claimed an SPF of 30 in 2017. We were shocked to see that one big name brand, which is also the most expensive sun cream they tested, didn’t pass their rigorous testing, with Which? labelling them ‘Don’t Buy’.

    How the suncreams were tested

    Over their two years of testing, Which? tested an array of recognisable sun creams. From big brands such as Nivea and Hawaiian Tropic to supermarket and shop own-brands like Aldi and Boots. Each of the sunscreens were tested to strict British standards to see if they would provide enough protection against UVA and UVB radiation (UVB is what causes you to burn and UVA is what causes us to age from too much sun, with both types being linked to skin cancer).

    best sun cream

    Credit: Getty Images

    To rate the creams fairly, Which? ran two tests to find the best sun cream. For the SPF test, suncream was applied to a small area of a volunteer’s skin, which was then exposed to a UVB lamp. They recorded when the skin turned red, and compared the smallest dose of UVB needed to turn the skin red, with and without the sun cream, to determine the SPF. One product didn’t pass this test.

    The UVA test was carried out using a device called a spectrophotometer, which allows testers to measure the amount of UVA absorbed by the sun cream. All products passed this test.

    But the results were alarming! Especially when you consider that one of the creams that failed the tests costs £10, compared to one that passed which you can pick up for only £2.79.

    Best sun cream 2020

    To make sure you’re picking up the best bottle of sun protection for you and the family, read our round-up to find the best suncream out there – and the ones that should be avoided, as rated by Which?…