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Though it is important to use adequate protection from the sun year-round, there is nothing like a bout with hot and humid weather to remind you that the exposure to the summer sun has its consequences. Sunscreen sprays, creams and lotions protect the skin from the sun by using chemical combinations to block harmful UVA and UVB rays from causing sunburn, aging the skins appearance and some cancers.
While some sort of sun protection is always advised, not all sunscreen products are considered equal. Not only with regard to sun protection factor (SPF), but also in the ingredients used to protect the skin. Let’s face it: finding the right sunscreen product can be a challenge. But lucky for you, Consumer Reports Health recently tested 12 sunscreen products and found four that prove better than the rest.
To find the best sunscreen products, Consumer Reports Health tasked an independent laboratory with measuring how well the SPF of each product lasted on volunteers who were submerged in water for 80 minutes. Those that rose to the top were found to have met their SPF claims after the time was up, ranking “very good” in the UVA protection level and “excellent” in the UVB category.
The four frontrunners include:
- Up & Up Sport Continuous SPF 30 spray sunscreen. This product is made by Target brand and is only available in their stores. The product retails for an affordable $0.88 per ounce.
- Walgreens brand Sport Continuous SPF 50 spray, available nationwide at Walgreens stores for $1.33 per ounce.
- Banana Boat Sport Performance Continuous SPF 30 spray, available at a variety of department and drug stores nationwide for $1.60 per ounce.
- Aveeno Continuous Protection SPF 50 spray, also available at department and drug stores nationwide for approximately $2.00 per ounce.
While sunscreen products are an effective way to ward off a nasty sunburn or premature aging of the skin, they must be used properly for the best results. This includes re-applying the sunscreen often, even 90 - 120 minutes, even if the formula is long lasting or claims to be waterproof or sweatproof. Staying out of the sun during the hottest parts of the afternoon, from noon until 4:00pm, also plays a significant role in summer skin care. The recommended minimum SPF number that should be used by adults is 30, and sunscreen should always be applied at least 15 minutes prior to going outside.