I was watching TODAY recently and was shocked to learn that the SPF number on the sunscreen bottle isn’t always accurate according to Consumer Reports. In fact, 20 out of the 58 lotions, sprays and sticks that CR tested performed at less than half of the SPF listed on their labels! For example, one sunscreen was labeled as SPF 30, but the UVB protection was actually between SPF 10 and 19.
As a person who had a skin cancer scare (here’s my story), I found this disturbing, especially for the parents out there making sure their children are protected. Thanks to Consumer Reports, we now know which sunscreens to buy. Here are a few of the top-rated lotions:
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk ($35.99)
- Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50 ($14.14)
- Pure Sun Defense Disney Frozen Lotion SPF 50 ($6)
- Coppertone WaterBabies Lotion SPF 50 ($7.57)
- Equate Ultra Protection Lotion SPF 50 ($20.84)
See this link for the rest of the lotions. Consumer Reports also recommends that if you can’t find one of the lotions listed above, you should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40. It should also contain ingredients like avobenzone rather than “natural” ingredients.
If you’re looking for a spray sunscreen, they recommend:
- Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ ($9.98)
- Banana Boat SunComfort Clear UltraMist Spray ($6.62)
- Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30 ($10.99)
Consumer Reports also suggests when using a sunscreen spray to be sure to shake the bottle first since it helps distribute the ingredients. You should also hold the nozzle close to your skin, avoid spraying the product into the wind, and rub the sunscreen in after you spray it on.
Regardless of what kind of sunscreen you choose, you should apply it 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours (and whenever you get out of the water). And don’t forget parts of your body like your ears, scalp, toes…
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