Which sunscreens protect best?

Walmart's Equate, Trader Joe's spray named Consumer Reports ‘best buys'

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Just in time for summer fun in the sun, Consumer Reports released test results and recommendations for several sunscreen brands.

South Texas sunrays can be brutal, so it’s crucial to slather on the sunscreen to protect skin from damage and cancer.

Consumer Reports rated 82 lotions, sprays, sticks and lip balms and cut through the jargon on the labels to help find the best sunscreens.

To test the sunscreen, testers applied sunscreen to volunteers’ backs and then had them soak in a tub for 40 or 80 minutes, depending on the product’s water claims. They then exposed the skin to simulated sunlight and later examined the area for redness.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen got top ratings. At $36, it’s pricey.

If that’s too steep, Equate Ultra Protection with SPF 50 sold at Walmart also got an excellent rating. It’s $7 a bottle.

If you prefer a spray, Trader Joe’s sunscreen with SPF 50-plus also got an excellent rating. It costs $6.

Consumer Reports Sunscreen Ratings: www.CR.org/sunscreen2019

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked sunscreen manufacturers to provide additional safety information on 12 common sunscreen chemical active ingredients, including oxybenzone.

“The problem with oxybenzone is that there’s evidence it’s absorbed through the skin,” said Trisha Calvo, Health Editor for Consumer Reports. “Animal studies suggest that it may interfere with the function of hormones, including estrogen. But there hasn’t been enough research yet to determine if it’s harmful to people.”

Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics said parents may want to consider using an oxybenzone-free sunscreen on their children.

If you’re looking for a sunscreen containing no chemicals, you may be thinking of trying a mineral or natural sunscreen. But Consumer Reports says you should shop carefully. In sunscreen tests in recent years, it hasn’t found a mineral sunscreen that provides top-notch protection and meets its labeled SPF.

Although California Kids Sensitive Lotion SPF 30-Plus and Badger Active Badger Active Natural Mineral Cream SPF 30-Unscented weren’t at the top of Consumer Reports' ratings, they were the highest-scoring mineral sunscreens and will provide some protection.

Consumer Reports also has its trained sensory panelists evaluate sunscreens for scent and feel. This sensory testing isn’t factored into the overall score, but their descriptions of the scent and feel of every sunscreen can be found next to the ratings to help you pick the best product for you.

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