SPF and UVA testing methods clarified in ISO report

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

A technical report from the International Standards Organisation (ISO) claims to help technicians navigate the complex world of sun protection test methods.

The report covers common methods used around the world for testing SPF and UVA both in vivo​ and in vitro​,​and is part of an ongoing project to publish one standardised method for each test.

“Until now the plethora of methods used to determine the levels of protection provided by sun protection products had made comparisons both difficult and time consuming,” ​explained convener of the working group behind the report, Professor Philippe Masson.

“Thanks to ISO/TR 26369:2009, users are now able to compare methods quickly and easily, from just one document.”

The technical report covers 6 methods to test SPF in vivo,​ including a test method currently used in Europe, Japan and South Africa as well as that currently used in the USA and Canada, and the Korean and Chinese methods.

It is the method currently being used by Europe, Japan and South Africa that will be adopted by the ISO as the standard SPF model, and details of the choice should be released in 2010.

Standardised in vitro ​SPF not imminent

For in vitro ​SPF tests the situation is rather different, explained Dominique Moyal from L’Oreal’s regulatory department who was involved in the creating of the report.

“Any publication and method that appeared significant was discussed in the technical report as there is no in vitro SPF testing method that has been officially recognised,”​ she told CosmeticsDesign.

For this reason the publication of a standardised method for this test is not imminent.

In vivo ​UVA methods discussed in the technical report include the PPD method used in Japan, Korean, China and Europe along with a collection of test methods published some years ago.

ISO expects to publish a report containing a standardised in vivo​ UVA method next year.

In vitro​ UVA test methods covered by the technical review include a Colipa method published in 2007, the critical wavelength method, the German DIN method and the UVA/UVB ratio method.

The publication by ISO of a standardized in vitro ​UVA method is expected in 2011 and according to Moyal will be based on the Colipa method.

ISO/TR 26369:2009 is available for purchase at the ISO website​.

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