As summer approaches, make sure you don't get burned when buying sunscreen. Consumer Reports expert testing reveals which lotions and sprays offer the best protection, and the best value.
If you think all sunscreens are created equal, think again.
For the fifth year in a row, Consumer Reports finds some sunscreens during testing failed to provide the level of protection promised on the package. In fact, of the 58 products in Consumer Report's ratings, 20 tested at less than half of their labeled SPF number.
"The sunscreens in our ratings vary significantly in terms of the level of protection they provide. This is why it's so important to choose a sunscreen carefully," Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports Health Editor, said.
Consumer Reports' extensive testing found a number of sunscreens that provide solid protection against sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkles and are also a good value.
"One brand that did very well in our tests is Equate from Wal-Mart. Three of their products are listed as best buys in our ratings," Calvo said.
Those include Equate's Sport Lotion SPF 50, Ultra Protection Lotion SPF 50 and Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30.
"Other best buys include Trader Joe's Spray SPF 50+, which got a perfect score in our ratings, and Pure Sun Defense Lotion SPF 50," Calvo said.
Consumer Reports says if you can't find one of their recommended products, choose a sunscreen with at least 40 SPF that contains chemical active ingredients such as avobenzone rather than one with mineral active ingredients like zinc oxide.
Consumer Reports said using the best sunscreen won't protect your skin if you're not using it properly. They suggest applying at least one teaspoon to each body part 15 to 30 minutes before going out and reapplying every two hours.
All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit http://www.consumerreports.org
Consumer Reports: Best sunscreens to protect your skin