Budget sunscreens are rated best on the market… as Hawaiian Tropic lotion is blasted for worst-possible UVA protection score
22:46 GMT, 24 May 2012
As Memorial Day approaches, heralding the start of the summer season, a definitive list of the best sunscreens has been released.
Consumer Reports tested 19 of the best-selling products on the market with an SPF of over 30 for how well they protected against UVA rays – which can cause to ageing and skin cancer – and UVB rays, which cause sunburn.
The research team found No-Ad with Aloe & Vitamin E SPF 45, which sells for $8.99 and Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50 ($7.79) to be the best buys in terms of performance and value for money.
Best of the bunch: No-Ad with Aloe & Vitamin E SPF 45, $8.99 (left) and Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50, $7.79 (right) were the highest-rated sunscreens
Worst-rated: Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Creme Lotion SPF 50, ($19.99, left), Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free Sting-Free SPF 50 ($10.99, centre) and Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunblock Sport SPF 45 ($7.35, right)
Five other products, including two from Coppertone, rated as 'very good against UVA [and] were excellent against UVB, even after water immersion for 80 minutes.'
The worst-performing sunscreen was Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Creme Lotion SPF 50, $19.99, which got the 'worst possible score on UVA'.
TRIED AND TESTED: THE SEVEN BEST SUNSCREENS
No-Ad with Aloe & Vitamin E SPF 45Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50 All Terrain AquaSport SPF 30Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Sport Performance Active Dry Protect SPF 30Coppertone Sport High Performance Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30Eco All Natural Sunscreen Body SPF 30Coppertone Oil Free Foaming SPF 75+
Also rating poorly on UVA protection were Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free Sting-Free SPF 50 ($10.99) and Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunblock Sport SPF 45 ($7.35).
The report comes as the FDA is cracking down on sunscreen labelling.
The term 'sun block' has been banned because it 'overstates sunscreen's effectiveness'.
SPF 50+ is also likely to be the highest SPF you'll see in future, as the FDA says it doesn't have enough clinical data to prove that sunscreens with higher SPF valuesprovide additional protection.
Claims of all-day and instant protection will need to be proved – usually one must allow the product to absorb for 15-30 minutes before it is deemed effective.
And products labelled as 'broad spectrum' protection will be required to pass a new 'critical wavelength' test.
THE WORST SUNSCREENSHawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Creme Lotion SPF 50Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free Sting-Free SPF 50Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunblock Sport SPF 45
Karen Rauen, director of health and consumer science operation at Consumer Reports, said in a statement: '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 ageing of skin and contributes to skin cancer.'
As manufacturers have until mid-December to implement the changes, consumers will be faced with a mix of both old and new labels in stores this summer.
PERFECTING PROTECTION: TOP SUNSCREEN TIPS
Aim high: Consumer Reports recommends that people use sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and water resistant. It also advises to wear a hat and protective clothing.
Check ingredients: Oxybenzone may interfere with hormones in the body, and nanoscale zinc and titanium oxides have been linked to potential reproductive and developmental effects. In skin, retinyl palmitate converts readily to retinoids, associated with a risk of birth defects in people using retinoid-containing acne medications. Pregnant women may want to avoid products with retinyl palmitate.
Spray carefully: The FDA has said it is exploring the risks of inhaling spray sunscreens. Until more safety information is available, consumers should avoid using sprays on children, and be sure to spray sunscreen onto their hands before they apply it to their faces.
Use enough: A person should use two to three tablespoons of lotion on most of their body, or spray as much as can be rubbed in, then repeat. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.