Cancer Society Media Statement on Sunscreen Complaints

The Cancer Society takes sun protection very seriously and is disappointed with the recent coverage concerning their sunscreen in the media.

All of the Cancer Society sunscreen products are tested to ensure they meet the sun protection factor (SPF) claims on the packaging. The most recent independent test done on the SPF 50+ Kids Pure sunscreen showed it has an SPF of 60+.

“I want to reassure New Zealanders that our sunscreen is safe if used correctly.” says Mike Kernaghan, CEO of the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

“It’s really important that New Zealanders understand that sunscreen is only one part of being sunsmart and to Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap, especially between 10am and 4pm.

We also recommend people keep infants out of the sun as much as possible from September to April, especially between 10 am and 4 pm,” continues Kernaghan.

“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand and we have the highest overall rate in the world of melanoma, the type of skin cancer most likely to result in premature death” says Associate Professor Tony Reeder, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago.

Most cases of skin cancer are attributable to excess sun exposure, so fortunately, skin cancer is potentially largely preventable” continues Reeder.

“The range of personal protective strategies available includes the correct application of a sunscreen that meets the Australian / New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2604. New Zealanders should not rely entirely on sunscreen to help prevent sunburn that can lead to the development of skin cancer.

During the summer months, in particular, when sun burning ultraviolet radiation reaches its highest levels, is vitally important that all New Zealanders protect themselves from the sun by following the long established SunSmart principles” concludes Reeder.

SunSmart principles:

  • Slip on a shirt with long sleeves and a collar to help protect the arms and neck
  • Slip into the shade, such as that provided by an umbrella or a leafy tree
  • Slop on broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30
  • Slap on a hat which provides shade protection to the head and neck, preferably one with a brim at least 7.5cm wide
  • Wrap on sunglasses that are close fitting and protect against UVR according to the revised AS/NZ Standard 1067.


Cancer Society sunscreen manufacturing information

Cancer Society sunscreens are manufactured under strict medicine manufacturing requirements. This includes being manufactured and packaged under the same strict Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Standards as medicines.  

There are vigorous standards in place to ensure they meet the claims on the label, including certification by the ‘Therapeutic Goods Administration’ which is a part of the Australian Government’s Department of Health.

It is very important to the Cancer Society that New Zealanders do not lose confidence in sunscreens and SPF protection and are happy to work with every person that has experienced an issue with their sunscreen in a formal process.



Mike Kernaghan, CEO, Cancer Society of New Zealand 021 822 577

Mary Direen, Communications and Marketing Manager, Cancer Society of New Zealand 021 801 243