We bought 21 sunscreens for children in pharmacies, (organic) supermarkets, pharmacies and health food stores, including three certified natural cosmetics. We prefer to use perfume-free products or products that are advertised as sensitive and have a high or very high sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 or 50+.
Using the list of ingredients that is mandatory for cosmetics manufacturers, a laboratory has checked whether the creams contained problematic substances such as questionable UV filters. We analyzed the products in the laboratory for, among other things, halogenated organic compounds and formaldehyde / formaldehyde release agents, which can still be used as preservatives in children’s cosmetics. We also measured whether large amounts of the putative cancer benzophenone were formed in creams with the UV filter octocrylene.
To find out if any nanomaterial has been correctly declared on sunscreens with the mineral filters titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, the commissioned laboratory used a method described in the EU project “NanoDefine”. Finally, we checked whether all the important application and warning instructions that help prevent skin cancer are printed on the bottles, tubes or boxes. What we do not order for sunscreens is a user test because it causes sunburn in test subjects. The common filter substances are effective. The biggest difference in protection comes from using the product generously.
Unless otherwise stated, the devaluation limits mentioned here are not legal limits, but rather those set by ÖKO-TEST. The devaluation limits were set by ÖKO-TEST taking into account the measurement uncertainties due to specific studies and the inherent deviations in the method.
Evaluation test result ingredients: During the test result, ingredients lead to a devaluation of five grades: “Silver chloride applied titanium dioxide” in products for children that does not explicitly exclude use for children under three years. According to Annex V of the EU Cosmetics Regulation, the preservative must not be used in products for children under three years of age. Leads to devaluation with two grades each: a) PEG / PEG derivatives; b) questionable UV filters (here: homosalat); (c) a measured content of more than 100 mg / kg benzophenone. The following leads to a devaluation of a banknote each: a) questionable UV filters (here: octocrylene); (b) more than one percent of silicone compounds and / or paraffins / artificial paraffins.
Evaluation test result Additional defects: During the test result Additional defects lead to a devaluation of two grades: Silicones, if not already due to silicones during the test result. Ingredients were devalued and / or synthetic polymers as additional plastic compounds (here: acrylates copolymer, acrylates / C10-30 alkyl acrylate cross polymer, acrylates / vinyl neodecanoate cross polymer, ammonium polyacryloyl dimethyl taurate, C12-22 alkyl acrylate / hydroxyethyl acrylic acrylate copolymer, dimethyl acrylic acrylate , triacontanyle polymer, VP copolymer / copolymer, VPH copolymer, triacontanyle polymer). Leads to a devaluation of a banknote each: a) Outer carton that does not protect glass; b) the absence of one or more of the following instructions for use and warnings in accordance with the recommendations of the Industry Association for Personal Care and Detergents (IKW) on the packaging or on the package leaflet: 1 = avoid intense midday sun. 2 = Apply before sunbathing. 3 = Apply repeatedly to preserve sun protection, especially after being in the water. 4 = Apply plenty of sunscreen. Small application rates reduce the protective performance. 5 = Protect babies and young children from direct sunlight. 6 = Use protective clothing and sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF greater than 25) for babies and young children. 7 = Even sunscreens with high sun protection factors do not provide complete protection against UV rays; c) Failure to indicate “nano” for titanium dioxide and / or zinc oxide in the list of ingredients according to EU Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009 and EU Commission Recommendation 2011/696 on the definition of nanomaterial, if the titanium dioxide or zinc oxide contained in the products is zinc oxide measured to be more than 50 percent nano-form; d) a proportion of post-consumer recyclate (PCR) products of less than 30% in relation to the total weight of the plastic packaging or no information thereon or insufficient proof thereof at our request.
The overall verdict based on the ingredients of the test result. A test result of other deficiencies that is “inadequate” lowers the overall rating by two marks. A test score of “Additional defects” that is “sufficient” lowers the overall rating by one grade. A test result that is “good” does not detract from the overall rating. For legal reasons, we would like to point out that we have not checked the effects of the products promised by the manufacturers.
Test methods (depending on the composition of the products):
Declarable fragrances / diethyl phthalate / polycyclic musk and nitromus compounds / cashmere: Extraction with TBME, GC-MS.
Delta-3-carene: ultrasonic extraction with tert-butyl methyl ether, GC-MS.
Halogenated organic compounds: a) Hot water extraction with subsequent centrifugation and membrane filtration, binding of the organic halogens to activated carbon, combustion of the activated carbon in a stream of oxygen, microcoulometric determination of the halogen content; b) Extraction with ethyl acetate, combustion of the extract in a stream of oxygen, microcoulometric determination of the halogen content.
Formaldehyde / formaldehyde splitter: acidic steam distillation, derivatization with acetylacetone, extraction with n-butanol and determination by photometry.
Silicones / paraffins / crude oil products: LC-RI after extraction (possibly GC-MS) or LC-CG / FID (paraffins).
Petroleum Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH): LC-GC / FID.
Elements: total digestion in microwave, element determination ICP-MS.
Other Ingredients: by declaration.
PVC / PVDC / chlorinated compounds in packaging: X-ray fluorescence analysis.
Purchase of the test products: March 2022
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