RSSL carries out SPF testing for a number of companies in the skin care industry and says that the upstart of the new regulations is that guidelines are clearer to follow and consumers will find it easier to find sun care and UV protection products tailored to their individual needs.
The recommendations were compiled by the EU commission and have now been adopted by COLIPA, the European industry body. The new rules set out to standardise the way the SPF of a product is calculated and the claims that can be made.
"Under the new recommendations, there is a big change in the way we report the SPF of a product," said Valerie Hart, Head of Clinical Sciences at RSSL Pharma.
"We previously reported the mean SPF results, but now we shall report the lowest of the confidence intervals," she added. "In addition products will be classified according to new categories of 'low', 'medium', 'high' and 'very high' in the same way that the FDA recommends for labelling of this type of product."
The EU recommendation primarily target UVA protection. Although UVB rays are known to cause sunburn and sun damage, UVA rays, despite not being a cause of burning, have an equally damaging effect on the skin and are also the cause of skin cancers.
The Recommendation on the Efficacy of Sunscreen Products and Claims aims to improve awareness of the dangers of UVA damage to skin and to ensure that consumers have the means of identifying products that provide adequate protection for both types of UV rays.
RSSL says that another positive aspect of the recommendations is that labels such as 'all-day protection' and 'total sunblock' can no longer be used to label products.
Consumer watchdogs have pointed to the use of this kind of labelling as being misleading to consumers, especially as sun care products should be re-applied regularly during sun exposure in an effort to maintain protection levels.
"This is an area we have been concerned about for some time," said Hart. "This type of claim implies to consumers that certain sun products offer unlimited protection when this is not always the case."