On May 13, 2016 I posted an article on skin cancer awareness and prevention. Only four days later, May 17, 2016 the Consumer Reports presented its findings after testing 65 sun tan lotions, sprays and sticks with a 30 or higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF). They found that 28 of them didn’t meet the SPF claim on their label. That is nearly half of the sunscreens tested — 43%. The most problematic products were Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free, Sting-Free Lotion and CVS brand Kids Sun Lotion, which were both labeled as SPF 50 but were found to have only SPF 8. The majority of products that did not live up to their SPF claims fell short by about 10 or 15 points.
Best-rated sunscreen lotions:
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk ($36)
- Pure Sun Defense SPF 50 ($6.30)
- Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 ($10.50)
- Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 50 ($7.85)
- No-Ad Sport SPF 50 ($10)
Best-rated sunscreens delivered by spray:
- Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ ($6)
- Banana Boat SunComfort Continuous Spray SPF 50+ ($10)
- Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection SPF 70 ($10.50)
- Caribbean Breeze Continuous Tropical Mist SPF 70 ($16.60)
- Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30 ($4.98)
“All-Natural vs Chemical Sunscreens”
Consumer Reports warns that mineral-based sunscreens containing only titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (frequently referred to as “natural”), are not the best option on the market today — noting that in tests they frequently perform far worse than the chemical-based sunscreens. Although, there are some natural sunscreens that performed well in the tests, here are a few:
- Cotz Plus SPF 58 ($20)
- California Baby Super Sensitive SPF 30+ ($19.99)
- Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish SPF 30 (oxybenzone-free, but is a chemical-based sunscreen)($7.99)
In the future, Consumer Reports hopes that the The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will review its sunscreen requirements. They currently only require manufacturers to test their own products, and don’t routinely conduct their own tests. Consumer Reports has submitted its research from the last four years to the FDA for their review.
So, what should you do?
If your favorite sunscreen didn’t make the list, Consumer Reports recommends you should choose a product with a SPF 40 or higher. They say that gives you a better chance of getting at least an SPF 30, which is the level most dermatologists recommend you use.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration requires that manufacturers test their products. Consumer Reports requests the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review its sunscreen requirements in hopes of better oversight and regulation.
For more, visit Consumer Reports here.