Best Sunscreen Lotions: How Effective Is Your Sunblock In Warding Off UVA And UVB Rays?
Consumer Reports tested the most widely available sunscreen lotions in the market today. The results reveal that out of all the sunscreen lotions tested, one third offer less than 50 percent of the SPF protection, which the labels on the sunblock bottles claim.
Consumer Reports recommended 15 out of the 58 sunscreen lotions it tested. It also found that roughly 20 sunscreen lotions tested offered only half the SPF rating of what their respective labels claimed. Skin experts advise that a sunscreen lotion offering at least SPF 30 should be used during outdoor activities in the sun.
The U.S.-based non-profit organization also determined the best sunscreen lotions available in the market, which offer great protection against the sun's UVA and UVB rays.
What Are SPF, UVA, And UVB?
SPF or sun protection factor is a measure of the protection from ultraviolet B or UVB rays, which a sunscreen lotion offers the human skin. The UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and can also lead to skin cancer as well.
Some sunscreen lotions also offer protection against the ultraviolet A or UVA rays, which are responsible for the skin's aging and melanoma.
According to the FDA's guidelines, it is mandatory for sunscreen makers to test their own products. However, the government agency rarely demands the test results from the company, which may be the reason why the labels on some sunscreen lotions are misleading and incorrect.
How Was The Test Conducted?
To determine the best sunscreen lotions, researchers applied a small amount of each product on the participants. The subjects were then asked to soak in a tub of water. Next, the scientists applied artificially-created UVB rays on the exact spot where the sunscreen lotion was applied.
A day after the test, researchers studied the area where the sunscreen and subsequent UVB rays were applied for any kind of redness. This gave them the exact efficiency of all of the tested products and also revealed how effective they were after application of water on those spots.
The Best Sunscreen Lotions
After the tests, researchers determined the best sunscreen lotions and the best spray and stick sunscreen and recommended 15 of the 58 products. The recommended sunscreens achieved a score of 81 or above in the tests conducted.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk SPF 60 was adjudged the best sunscreen lotion with a perfect score of 100. This product retails for $36. Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50 came in a close second with an overall score of 99 and it sells for just $5.
Pure Sun Defense Disney Frozen Lotion SPF 50 scored 98 in the tests and was the third-best sunscreen lotion. It retails for $6.
The two best spray and stick lotions in the market per the tests were Trader Joe's Spray SPF 50+, which scored 100 in the tests and sells for just $6; and Up & Up (Target) Kids Sunscreen Stick SPF 55, which scored 85 and is available for $7.
The folks at Consumer Reports also revealed that people should always use a product with an SPF rating of at least 40. They also recommend people use sunscreen lotions, which have chemical active ingredients like avobenzone rather than using lotions with mineral active ingredients such as zinc.
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