Summer is here and we have been baking already! Seven days of 100+ degree weather. We do expect a slight break today, but all I can think about is what’s August going to be like. What sunscreen do you use? Does it work? You may be shocked! Read this before you buy!
Recently the FDA said starting in 2012 the labeling on sunscreens will change to avoid misleading claims. With that being said, careful before you buy. Just because it costs more doesn’t mean that is works better. This is a great piece from Consumer Reports I came across and wanted to share. I am all about being smart with money and getting the best bang for your buck and I think you will be surprised at their findings.
Tests Reveal Top Performing Sunscreens
In tests of 22 sprays, creams, and lotions, we found nine that provided excellent protection against UVB radiation (which causes sunburn) even after immersion in water, along with very good protection against UVA radiation (which penetrates deeper than UVB, tanning and aging skin).
What we found
No one type—spray, cream, or lotion—protected best. We found three Best Buys: Up & Up Sport SPF 30 (Target), No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45, and Equate Baby SPF 50. The Up & Up is a spray while the other two products are lotions.
Although most products were excellent against UVB rays before water immersion, three were just OK, and some lost effectiveness after dunking. Most were very good against UVA rays, but Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard was merely fair. (It’s a sunscreen and bug spray in one, not the best idea: In reapplying it for sun protection, you might overdo bug protection.)
Our sensory testers reported on how the products felt and smelled. Some sprays took more than 30 seconds to dry, but Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30, a top pick, dried especially fast. Many products had the familiar scent associated with summer, but Soleo Organics All Natural SPF 30+ smelled a bit like plastic plus stale cooking oil. We also checked whether the sunscreens stained cotton, polyester, a rayon/spandex blend, and a nylon/spandex blend. All of the more effective sunscreens tended to stain cloth.
Almost every tested sunscreen contains some ingredients associated with adverse health effects in animal studies. Oxybenzone and other endocrine disruptors may interfere with hormones in the body, and nanoscale zinc and titanium oxides are linked to problems such as potential reproductive and developmental effects.
Retinyl palmitate (look for it among inactive ingredients), a type of topical vitamin A, is an antioxidant that animal studies have linked to an increased risk of skin cancers. In skin, it converts readily to retinoids, associated with a risk of birth defects in people using acne medications containing them. As a precaution, pregnant women may want to avoid sunscreens with retinyl palmitate. (They’re footnoted in the Ratings, available to subscribers.)
More research is needed, but as of now, the proven benefits of sunscreen outweigh any potential risks.
How we tested
We had an outside lab determine whether products met their labeled sun protection factor (SPF), which refers to UVB rays, and how well they blocked UVA. Although the Food and Drug Administration proposed a one- to four-star labeling system for UVA protection in 2007, it’s still not in effect, and most tested products simply claim “broad-spectrum protection.”
Most claim water resistance for 80 minutes. We applied those to volunteers’ backs; their backs were submerged in water for 80 minutes and then exposed to UV rays. (Two that claim water resistance with no specified time were tested for 40 minutes.)
Don’t rely on sunscreen alone. Wear protective clothing and limit time in the sun. Your sunscreen should be water resistant, with an SPF of at least 30. Above 30, there’s not much more protection. You need to reapply any sunscreen every 2 hours or so anyway and after swimming or sweating. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of a lotion on most of your body, or “spray as much as can be evenly rubbed in,” says Jessica Krant, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, “then go back over every area and spray them all completely again.”
Don’t pay too much. La Roche-Posay, $18.82 per ounce (yes, you read that right), scored lower overall than No-Ad, 59 cents.