Sunscreens for children: which ones to take and which ones not according to Altroconsumo

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Adequate protection from the sun's rays is always essential, but especially for children. An intense and excessive exposure to the sun as children, with the consequent erythema and burns, is one of the risk factors for developing skin cancer in adulthood. This is why you need to be especially careful with children.

Read also: The decalogue of children in the sun

How? The basic indications are the classic ones: avoid exposing them to the sun during the hours of greatest solar intensity (from 11 to 16 or 17), invite them to wear t-shirts, hats and sunglasses and never forget the sunscreen, which must be high protection (sun protection factor or Spf 50+) and must be applied often.

The Altroconsumo test on solar products for children

Yes, but it's easy to say "high protection". A recent survey by the consumer association Altroconsumo has in fact shown that not all of the 16 sunscreen products for children with a declared SPF of 50+ tested have passed the tests.

These are all the solar analyzed:

  • Cien sun (lidl) sun spray for children
  • Aptonia (decathlon) kids protective solar spray
  • Coop sun milk spray for children
  • Multi-position solar spray children's bilboa
  • Chicco solar spray
  • Nivea sun kids protect&play spray
  • Garnier amber solar kids advanced sensitive spray
  • Nivea sun kids sensitive protect&play spray
  • Garnier ambre soleil kids advanced sensitive anti-sabbia spray
  • La roche posay anthelios dermo-pediatrics multi-position spray
  • Eucerin sensitive protect kids sun spray
  • Rilastil baby transparent spray wet skin
  • Uriage barié sun spray kids
  • Vichy ideal sun spray dolce bambini
  • Isdin fotoprotector pediatrics transparent spray wet skin
  • Mustela baby enfant sun milk

Two products "under investigation"

Two of these showed much lower protection factors than those declared on the label, prompting Altroconsumo to ask for it to be withdrawn from the market. It is about:

  • Rilastil - Baby transparent spray wet skin 200 ml
  • Isdin - Transparent spray wet skin 200 ml

In repeated tests, the two products would have shown protection factors between 14 and 20, well below the declared 50+. "In cases like these - reads the Altroconsumo website - the risk of burns can be high, even more so because those who buy this type of products are convinced that they can count on a very high protection factor and on the fact that they are suitable for children. ".

Not only that: the SPF only indicates protection from UVB rays of the sun. If nothing else is specified, according to a European recommendation it should be assumed that the protection against UVA rays is at least one third of the SPF declared on the label. Altroconsumo also made this verification, discovering that Rilastil and Isdin would not even comply with regard to the balance between shielding power against UVB rays and against UVA rays..

Read also: Sun creams, a guide to decide

The companies responded promptly to the complaint, issuing press releases confirming the compliance of their products with what was declared on the packaging (for example, the full release of Rilastil), but obviously the data from Altroconsumo have aroused great agitation among consumers. The solution? According to the biotechnologist and scientific journalist Beatrice Mautino, expert in cosmetics, faced with these conflicting statements "the only one is that an independent third party, such as the Ministry of Health, takes action to check the case and tell us who has reason". Indeed, Altroconsumo promptly reported the results of its tests to the Ministry.

In a letter sent to the Rilastil solar company, the Ganassini Institute, the Ministry of Health he specified that the technical analyzes carried out in the laboratories of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità following the Altroconsumo report did not lead to sufficient elements to conclude that the company's test results do not comply with the regulations. In addition, he pointed out that there is currently no evidence of health risks resulting from the use of product in question, which therefore remains on the market.

In all this, however, there is good news, and it is the fact that the 14 products examined respect the degree of protection indicated on the label. In general, moreover, the authors of the investigation underline that they have noticed, in recent years, a general improvement in the compositions of most solar products for children, although some exceptions remain.


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Not just SPF: baby sunscreen and critical ingredients

According to Altroconsumo, in fact, the protection factor is not the only element to take into consideration when it comes to sun creams for children. “Another important point - reads the association's website - is that they are not there critical ingredients, such as allergenic fragrances or substances that can disturb the hormonal balance of our body (endocrine disruptors)".

From this point of view, Altroconsumo identifies a series of products that contain substances "not recommended" by the association itself, such as the ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) filter, considered a potential endocrine disruptor, present in:

  • Rilastil baby transparent spray wet skin
  • Uriage barié sun spray kids
  • Coop sun milk spray for children
  • Multi-position solar spray children's bilboa
  • Chicco solar spray

and cyclopentasiloxane, an ingredient which, according to the European Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety, is not recommended precisely in spray formulations and has instead always been found in Isdin.

The best products

Taking into account various characteristics of the product, including the absence of ingredients considered "critical", Altroconsumo indicates the best sun creams:

  • Garnier amber solar kids advanced sensitive spray (better than the test)
  • Cien sun (lidl) sun spray for children (best purchase also in relation to the price).

Apart from these, two products are considered to be excellent quality (Vichy ideal sun spray dolce bambini and Garnier amber sunscreen kids advanced sensitive spray), five of good quality (La roche posay anthelios dermo-pediatrics spray multi-posizione; Nivea sun kids protect&play spray; Aptonia kids spray solare protettivo; Eucerin sensitive protect kids sun spray; Nivea sun kids sensitive protect&play spray) e five of average quality (Uriage bariésun spray kids; Coop solar spray milk for children; Chicco solar spray; Bilboa children multi-position solar spray; Mustela bebé enfant solar milk).

  • sunscreen
  • solar children
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