Everyone should be using sunscreen to protect their skin, especially as the sun's rays are getting stronger.
But not all sunscreens are the same.
Consumer Reports has just released its annual expert tests on the best sunscreen sprays and lotions to keep you from getting burned, either on your skin or in your wallet.
And for the fifth year in a row, Consumer Reports finds some sunscreens failed during testing to provide the level of protection promised on the package.
In fact, of the 58 products in the ratings, 20 tested at less than half of their labeled SPF number.
"The sunscreens in our ratings vary significantly in terms of the level of protection they provide. This is why it's so important to choose a sunscreen carefully," says Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports Health Editor.
Consumer Reports' extensive testing found a number of sunscreens that provide solid protection against sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkles and are also a good value.
"One brand that did very well in our tests is Equate from Wal-Mart. Three of their products are listed as best buys in our ratings," says Calvo.
Those include Equate's Sport Lotion SPF 50, Ultra Protection Lotion SPF 50 and Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30.
"Other best buys include Trader Joe's Spray SPF 50+, which got a perfect score in our ratings, and Pure Sun Defense Lotion SPF 50," she notes.
Consumer Reports says if you can't find one of their recommended products, choose a sunscreen with at least 40 SPF that contains chemical active ingredients such as avobenzone, rather than one with mineral active ingredients like zinc oxide.
Of course, even if you have the best sunscreen, it won't protect you if you don't use it properly.
It's recommended to use at least one teaspoon to each body part 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
And then re-apply every two hours, sooner if you go swimming.
To see the full Consumer Reports article, click here.
Consumer Reports: 2017 sunscreen ratings
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