New research conducted by Procter & Gamble Beauty suggests two main reasons why some sunscreens fail to provide adequate protection: sunscreens have a gap in UVA coverage and many consumers apply sunscreen incorrectly. The research, presented at the 2004 American Academy of Dermatology meeting, was based on an analysis of 188 sunscreen products.
Findings revealed that while 82% of current sunscreens claim UVA protection, only 56% have long wavelength UVA-I filters. Also, most do not protect against the full spectrum of UVA/UVB radiation in sunlight, from 290-400 nanometers.
A national survey also showed many consumers mistakenly assume SPF 30 has twice the effectiveness of SPF 15. Still, P&G researchers said SPF 15 may be more efficacious due to the lighter formulations, as opposed to heavier, stickier high SPF lotions that are used sparingly.