Forget X Factor – think SP Factor

Recent reports show that low-factor sun cream has almost completely disappeared from shop shelves, as consumers become ever more cautious about burning in the sun. Sun creams below Factor 10 are rarely seen on shop shelves, a sharp contrast to a generation ago, when many families would pack a bottle of Factor 8 or 4 at most, while some sun worshippers used tanning oils designed to enhance the burning effects of the sun.

Tesco has stopped stocking any lotions with a Sun Protection Factor lower than 10 in its own-brand range. Claiming that just 30 per cent of its sales are for creams with an SPF of 10 or below. As recently as three years ago, 55 per cent of sales had an SPF of 10 or below. Superdrug, the high street chemist chain, said that a mere 9 per cent of its sales were for a factor 10 or below, while more than half of all of its sales were for a SPF of 30 or more.

The dramatic shift in consumer behaviour follows years of campaigning by doctors for families to take better care in the sun, especially young children.

Eileen Ruby, Tesco’s sun products buyer, said: “Higher factor suncare products are selling much better than they used to and lower factor products do not sell as well. Children’s’ suncare products are driving sales. Some parents are using their children’s’ sun lotions because they are a higher factor – especially if they have sensitive or pale skin.”

However, retailers have pointed out that sun creams are still treated as a cosmetic product, rather than an essential item – it is subject to full VAT, which will increase from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent next year.

An SPF of 10 indicates that the you will need to be exposed to the sun, and its ultraviolet (UV) rays, for ten times longer than without cream, before you burn. However, some experts have warned that people are being overly-cautious and that some consumers are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency because they are never exposed to UV rays.

Last year the University College London indicated that 20 per cent of women and 12 per cent of men are now classed as being clinically vitamin D deficient, while levels of the vitamin in nearly two thirds of women and 57 per cent of men were “insufficient”.

Sun safety tips:

  • Avoid the midday sun between 11am and 3pm
  • Wear at least SPF 30, reapply every 90 minutes and after swimming
  • Wear a good pair of sun glasses and a hat for your head. While sunscreen is effective in preventing sunburn, clothing does an even better job of blocking the sun.
  • Sand and water reflect UV radiation, which means being in the shade under a beach umbrella does not provide complete protection. If you feel like you’re burning, stay out of the sun completely.
  • Fake it – the safest tan comes out of a bottle!

Remember to pack your family travel insurance!You can get an instant quote and immediate cover by going online to 24/7 travel insurance.
A 3-day family break in Europe will cost you only £10.64* – a small price to pay for peace of mind protection whilst you are away!
* Premium £10.64 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on 2 adults aged under 55 and 2 children aged under 18 taking out a “Standard” Single Trip 24/7 family travel insurance policy for 3-days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (August 2010) and are subject to change.