Good sunscreen doesn’t need to burn your wallet

Consumer Reports tests several lotions, sprays

Before you stock on sunscreen for summer fun, Consumer Reports put several to the test.

SAN ANTONIO – Sunscreen is really a year-round essential, but before you spend extra time under the sun’s strong summer rays, Consumer Reports put several with varying price points to the test to help you choose.

We test sunscreens to see how well they protect against two types of UV rays. UVA, which causes aging and skin cancer, and UVB, which causes sunburn,” explained Consumer Reports Health Editor Trisha Calvo.

As part of Consumer Reports’ testing, sunscreen is applied to volunteers’ backs. Then they soak in a tub for 40 or 80 minutes, depending on the product’s water-resistance claim. The area is then exposed to simulated sunlight. The next day, trained experts examine the skin for redness.

Turns out a top performer doesn’t cost a lot. Equate Ultra Lotion SPF 50 from Walmart is a Consumer Reports “best buy” that sells for $5.

If the smell or feel of a sunscreen matters to you, Consumer Reports asked testers about that, too.

“In our tests, we found several sunscreens that absorb quickly into skin, and leave little to no residue on people of a variety of skin tones,” Calvo said.

Most of the volunteers liked Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50, and it tested well in CR’s overall ratings, too. It sells for $9.50.

To see more of Consumer Reports sunscreen recommendations, click here.

Because of several recalls of some aerosol sunscreens due to benzene contamination, Consumer Reports looked for benzene in all of the aerosol sunscreens it tested.

“The good news is that all the products we tested for benzene came back negative,” Calvo said.

To see if you have a recalled sunscreen, you can check here.

No matter which sunscreen you choose, it’s important to use it liberally and often. Many people simple don’t use enough or reapply after getting in the water.

One other important note: Consumer Reports recommends parents choose lotion sunscreens for kids and only use sprays as a last resort because kids may inhale the spray which could cause lung irritation.

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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.