New ISO Standard will better protect people from harmful sun rays

Issue 41 – August 2012

ISO 24443:2012 Determination of sunscreen UVA photoprotection in vitro will contribute to better protection for people against the harmful rays of the sun. The Standard will help laboratories and the cosmetics industry to measure the UVA performance of sunscreen products.

ISO 24443 gives specifications for an in vitro procedure to characterise the UVA protection of sunscreen products in accordance with a methodology defined in the Standard.

Pr Philippe Masson, Chair of the ISO group of experts that developed the Standard, comments: 'The trade in cosmetics between different countries is increasing. ISO 24443 will be an important tool in improving the quality and safety of sunscreen products and facilitating their global trade. It will also help manufacturers to better respond to local requirements for sunscreen products and give better information to consumers.'

It is widely accepted that overexposure to the rays of the sun can have harmful effects on the skin. In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the report, Solar ultraviolet radiation: Global burden of disease from solar ultraviolet radiation, that estimates up to 60000 deaths a year worldwide are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

When first created, sunscreens were only designed to filter out UVB, as the dangers represented by UVA were then unknown. Today, sun protection products must span the entire UV spectrum.

Sun damage to skin is caused by UVA and UVB rays. UVB and UVA are different in their intensity, wavelength, and their ability to penetrate the layers of the skin. UVA rays are not as powerful as those of UVB, but they are more abundant and penetrate the skin to a greater depth. This then leads to a slackening of tissue, a loss of skin firmness, and the appearance of wrinkles. These rays penetrate so deeply that they can lead to genetic changes, affecting DNA, and resulting in the onset of skin cancer. UVA is also responsible for triggering photosensitisations in reaction to the consumption of certain pharmaceuticals.

ISO 24443 gives specifications to enable the determination of the spectral absorbance characteristics of UVA protection in a reproducible manner to help manufacturers and testing laboratories.

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Summarised from an ISO media release, 31 July 2012.


Published in consumer and occupational safety.

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