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Consumer Reports Lists Down The Best Sunscreens Of 2018

May 13, 2018 06:42 PM EDT
Consumer Reports released their list of best sunscreen choices of the year, showing that chemical-based products are still more effective than those with mineral ingredients.
(Photo : Leon Neal | AFP/Getty Images)

The summer months fast approaching, and it's time to stock up on sun-friendly products that protect the skin from the scorching rays.

Just in time for beach trips and outdoor activities, Consumer Reports released their latest findings on the best sunscreen products of the year.

Finding The Best Sunscreens For 2018

Sun protection factor or SPF measures how long the product can protect against ultraviolet B or UVB radiation, the report says.

The team tested 73 lotions, sprays, sticks, and lip balms with SPF 30 or higher and water resistant. They found that only 24 of these tested less than half of their SPF label. This doesn't mean that they aren't effective, but consumers may not be getting the adequate protection that they are expecting.

"We do our own scientific, laboratory-based testing to identify differences in performance and give consumers a comparative evaluation," Trisha Calvo, deputy editor of health and food at Consumer Reports, says in CBS News. "Every sunscreen is tested at the lab in the same way — and we use sunscreens we buy off the shelves, the way a consumer would."

The research group found that the four most protective sunscreens tested include La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk, Equate (Walmart) Sport Lotion SPF 50, BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50, and Coppertone WaterBabies SPF 50 Lotion.

Whatever sunscreen, experts recommend applying it on 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Then, reapply every two hours.

Those using lotions should aim to apply around a teaspoon for every area of the body while those using sprays should apply as much as it's possible to rub in and repeat.

The Push For Mineral Sunscreens

"In our tests over the years, so-called 'natural' or mineral sunscreens — those that contain only titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or both as active ingredients — have tended to perform less well than those that have chemical active ingredients, such as avobenzone," the report states. "None of the mineral sunscreens in our tests this year did well enough to make our list of recommendations."

This comes as a blow to researchers who are promoting the use of mineral sunscreens that don't contain chemicals that are harmful to coral reefs and marine life.

Hawaii recently moved to pass a bill prohibiting the sale and distribution of sunscreen products with oxybenzone and octinoxate, which is present in over 3,500 skin-care products. According to experts, mineral sunscreens are a much better choice for protecting the skin and avoiding coral damage at the same time.

This latest Consumer Reports tests reveal that while mineral products may be safer for ocean life, these products still have a long way to go before matching chemical-based products in performance.

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