Best Sunscreens: Consumer Reports

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 03:01 PM

By Nick Tate

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Heading to the beach for Memorial Day weekend? If you're packing sunscreen — and you should — you might want to first check out a new report by the editors of Consumer Reports magazine on the best products on the market.

The report, published in the latest edition of the magazine, found that not every sunscreen promising a high SPF (sun protection factor) actually delivers what the label claims. What's more, new research by the magazine found few products work effectively after being submerged in water.

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The findings are based on Consumer Reports tests of 20 sunscreens. The results showed some products delivered less than half the promised SPF, while others ranged from 4-40 percent below their claims. 

Of the sunscreens tested, Consumer Reports recommends seven products that provide "good to excellent" protection against sunburn and do a good job blocking the broad spectrum of UVA and UVB rays linked to skin cancer: 
  • Banana Boat.
  • BullFrog WaterAmor Sport InstaCool SPF 50.
  • Coppertone Sensitive Skin SPF 50.
  • Equate (Walmart).
  • Neutrogena.
  • Up & Up (Target).
  • Well (Walgreens).
Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet B rays, which are stronger at midday and in the summer. Ultraviolet A rays can age the skin and penetrate glass and are the same level all year, all day. Both types can cause skin cancer. 
 
The Food and Drug Administration advises use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher. Also, the FDA has banned the terms "waterproof" and "sweatproof."

Sunscreens labeled as "water resistant" are formulated to remain effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes when swimming or sweating.

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