Couple ‘suffer horrific sunburn after using Cancer Society SPF 50+ sunblock’

A couple claim they were left with horrific sunburn after using SPF 50+ sunscreen produced by New Zealand Cancer Society.

The pair, who wish to remain anonymous, were camping around New Zealand when temperatures were soaring to around 30 degrees last week.

The safety conscious couple bought a tube of SPF 50+ New Zealand Cancer Society sunscreen, ensuring to apply the product every two hours – yet somehow they still ended up burnt.


The man says they were both forced to take days off work and struggled to sleep for two nights, he shared on Reddit.

‘The fact this product is also marketed for everyday use in New Zealand’s harsh sun filled us with confidence that we had chosen the right sunscreen,’ his post said.

‘I would not recommend this product to anyone.’ 

The couple have taken their complaints to the company.  

New Zealand Cancer Society sunscreen is a reputable brand and is a popular choice for families or schools. 

The charity’s chief executive Mike Kernaghan told TVNZ they take sun protection very seriously and will be investigating.

‘Our sunscreen manufacturer voluntarily adheres to the AS/NZS 2604 Sunscreen Standard which has strict guidelines and rigorous testing mechanisms to maintain consistent levels of formulation quality,’ Mr Kernaghan said.

Last month when Consumer NZ tested 19 different sunscreen products they discovered only nine their SPF label claim and the requirements for broad-spectrum protection.

Consumer NZ’s testing of the Cancer Society Everyday SPF 50+ and Sungard Moisturising Sunscreen SPF 50+ found they had an SPF of 40 and 45 respectively. 

The sunscreens still provide high protection but not the very high protection indicated by the SPF 50+ label claim, Consumer NZ said.

The Daily Mail has approached the New Zealand Cancer Society for further comment. 


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