Rigid sunscreen safety regulations are now mandatory across NZ

Previously voluntary, rules covering the display and sale of sunscreen in retail stores are now mandatory after the passing of the Sunscreen Safety Bill in March.

All sunscreen products must now pass the AS/NZS 2604 Standard, which covers efficacy and safety, for them to be allowed on sale. This also applies to insect repellents claiming SPF4 ratings and skincare products with SPF15 or higher.

Cosmetics New Zealand, the industry body representing sunscreen makers, has been lobbying for the change for many years, and sunscreens are now already tested against a shared trans-Tansman benchmark.

It means little change for most sunscreen brands, said Angela Buglass, chair of the Cosmetics NZ board, especially if they already sell their products in Australia, where the standard has been mandatory for nearly 30 years.

“We’ve been advocating for this change for a long time,” said Buglass.

“For Kiwi shoppers, we are very pleased they can now have absolute confidence that all sunscreens on shelves are tested uniformly and can be trusted when used properly.”

Garth Wylie, a regulation and testing expert, who worked for the AS/NZS 2604 standard committee for 16 years, said the lengths brands must go through to meet the broad spectrum, SPF, and water resistance claims they make, is rigorous.

“The process to create a sunscreen that meets the standard is very robust,” he said, “with many rounds of formulation and testing in independent external labs taking place before SPF confirmation and labelling even happens.” 

Compliance with the Sunscreen Safety Bill will be regulated under the Fair Trading Act.

You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.