Just in time for Memorial Day and the start of summer activities, Consumer Reports rated 18 popular sunscreens.
Consumer Reports Best Buys include No-Ad with Aloe & Vitamin E SPF 45 and Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50. The report, along with details about new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling rules, are available online at ConsumerReports.org.
Among the new FDA labeling rules is that sunscreens claiming broad-spectrum protection, against both UVB and UVA rays, must pass the new “critical wavelength” test. Consumer Reports tested sunscreens on people—before and after immersion in freshwater—and on clear plastic plates to check for critical wavelength.
Seven sunscreens rated very good against UVA rays, rated excellent against UVB rays even after water immersion for 80 minutes, and met the FDA’s broad-spectrum labeling requirement. However, two sunscreens, Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunblock Sport SPF 45 and Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free Sting-Free SPF 50+, failed the critical wavelength test.
“While the SPF value indicates a sunscreen's protection from UVB radiation, which causes sunburn, the new FDA requirement means that sunscreens that claim broad-spectrum protection will have to prove that they also protect against UVA radiation, which causes aging of skin and contributes to skin cancer,” said Karen Rauen, Ph.D., Director, Health and Consumer Science Operation, Consumer Reports.
In the Consumer Reports sunscreen tests, no one type protected best, and price had little to do with performance. CR Best Buy No-Ad costs just 59 cents per ounce, besting the non-water-resistant $20.59 per ounce La Roche-Posey Anthelios 40 with Mexoryl SX SPF 40. For more information on how the pricier products fared vs. the less expensive ones, view the complete CR sunscreen Ratings at ConsumerReports.org.