WASHINGTON — Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and that means pools around D.C. are preparing to open and beach vacations are being planned.
So it’s a good idea to be prepared for those summer rays.
But not all sunscreens are created equally — or even provide the level of protection advertised on the front of the bottle.
A new study from Consumer Reports ranking the best sunscreens found more than third of the five dozen sunscreens its researchers examined tested at less than half their labeled “sun protection factor number.”
Overall, 15 sunscreens were rated “excellent” in the study. And you don’t necessarily have to shell out the big bucks for the best sun protection; four of the five best-rated sunscreens cost $10 or less, according to Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports rates these as its top five sunscreens:
- La Roche-Posay, Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk, $36
- Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+, $6
- Equate, Sport Lotion SPF 50, $5
- Pure, Sun Defense Disney Frozen Lotion SPF 50, $6
- Banana Boat SunComfort Clear Ultramist Spray SPF 50+, $10T
The full rankings are available in the July 2017 issue of Consumer Reports.
Overall, the study tested how well a total of 58 sun-protecting lotions, sprays and sticks performed at protecting skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn, skin aging and even skin cancer.
UVA rays from the sun can penetrate deep into human skin, damage connective tissue and the skin’s DNA. UVB rays from the sun help the body produce vitamin B and don’t penetrate as far into the skin but can still cause sunburns and damage DNA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trisha Calvo, deputy editor of health and food for Consumer Reports, said researchers again this year were unable to find a mineral-based or “natural” sunscreen that delivers both UVA and UVP protection.
If you don’t see any of researchers’ top picks at the store, Consumer Reports suggests picking up a sunscreen with a label of SPF 40 or higher with chemical active ingredients, such as avobenzone rather than mineral active ingredients.