Which sunscreens protect your family best?

Trader Joe’s spray gets top ratings in Consumer Reports tests

Whether you head to beach or enjoy stay-at-home sunscreen, you need to wear sunscreen to protect your skin. Consumer Reports put several to the test to see which ones work best.

SAN ANTONIO – Whether you head to the coast or soak up some stay-at-home sun, it’s important to protect your skin from the harmful rays.

Consumer Reports put several lotions and sprays to the test.

“You don’t need to be on the beach to get burned. No matter where you are outside, you need to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, even if it’s cloudy or not super hot,” said CR’s Trisha Calvo.

To test, CR applied sunscreen to volunteers’ back. They then soaked in a tub for 40 or 80 minutes, depending on the product’s water-resistance claim. The area was then exposed to simulated sunlight. The next day, trained experts examined it for redness.

Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ got top ratings, followed by Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70.

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It’s important to note that all of CR’s top-rated sunscreens contain an ingredient called oxybenzone, which is a very effective UV filter.

“There’s concern about oxybenzone because there’s some evidence that it’s absorbed through the skin more than previously thought. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsafe, but the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents may want to use an oxybenzone-free sunscreen on their kids,” Calvo said.

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Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion SPF 50 and Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Lotion SPF 30 were the highest-scoring oxybenzone-free sunscreens in CR's tests. Although not at the top of the ratings, they're still highly protective.

Consumer Reports also recommends that parents choose lotion sunscreens for kids and use sprays only as a last resort, because kids may inhale the spray, which could cause lung irritation.

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.