Sunscreens: don’t be fooled by Amazon Reviews

Written by on August 25, 2016 in in the news, Sunscreens for Rosacea Sufferers with 2 Comments

A really insightful article in The Atlanta Journal Constitution highlights how we might be fooled by what we find on the internet. Researchers examined 65 sunscreen products that were reviewed positively on for their performance as a sunscreen.

The performance of a sunscreen is something we can measure. The AAD has minimum requirements that a sunscreen should meet –

  • be at least SPF30
  • be broad spectrum (i.e. block both UVA and UVB)
  • be water/sweat resistant

The results of their study were troubling – 40 percent of the well rated products did not meet these minimum requirements.

So what were all those gleaming reviews all about – `many of the consumers writing reviews tended to focus on more superficial issues like smell, feel or on the sunscreen’s value as a cosmetic rather than actual sun protection’. Oh dear.

Article Extracts

Many highly-rated sunscreens don’t meet dermatology academy guidelines reviews have become the indispensable buying guide for all sorts of products for busy Americans who either don’t have time to trek to a retail store or who just can’t be bothered. We scrutinize them to figure out which movies to watch, which toaster does the bagel setting right and which toddler booties hold up best.

In narrowing down those products to a manageable list, he ranked the products by taking into account many stars they got in their ratings by consumers and how many reviews were offered and picked out the top 1 percent for additional scrutiny. The results were published in JAMA Dermatology.

Xu, a resident in dermatology, found that the selection of sunscreens on Amazon was vast — 6,500 — and there were tons of reviews that touched on all sorts of criteria including cosmetic issues (how well the substances absorb, feel, smell or exfoliate), performance (effective, obtainability of a tan), and skin compatibility (whether it might be good for sensitive skin, rosacea, etc.) The 6,500 included sunscreens that also included moisturizer or were tinted as makeup.

For those 65 sunscreens, Xu and his colleagues looked at how well they met American Academy of Dermatology minimum recommendations — that they are at least SPF 30, are broad spectrum and water/sweat resistant — and was surprised to find that 40 percent of these popular sunscreens were insufficient.

He said many of the consumers writing reviews tended to focus on more superficial issues like smell, feel or on the sunscreen’s value as a cosmetic rather than actual sun protection.

More background information also here – 4 in 10 Popular Sunscreens Don’t Meet Sun Safety Standards: Study.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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2 Reader Comments

  1. Comment via email.


    Besides mild rosacea (just flushing and broken capillaries) I have a photosensitivity and cannot be exposed to sunlight for even a few minutes. I have been using Anthelios XL 60 with Mexoryl (UVA & UVB) for years and find it to be the best sun block around. I have to order it from Canada but there are other Anthelios full spectrum products available in the US that could be tried. They also have lighter, less greasy ones for facial use. Anthelios is made by LaRoche Posay.


  2. Donnie Ford says:

    I like the Cerave AM moisturizer with invisible zinc It absorbs well and does not irritate your skin. I use Cerave Pm at night. Cerave products are Great for Rosaceans…

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