WebMD Medical News
Laura J. Martin, MD
May 25, 2010 -- A major consumers’ group has rated the sunscreens it says work best at blocking harmful ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation that cause sunburns, wrinkles, and certain skin cancers.
Consumer Reports Health tested 12 products and found four it says protect a touch better than the others.
The top four are:
The products were tested in an outside laboratory, which checked product claims of how well their sun protection factor, or SPF, lasted on volunteers who soaked in water for 80 minutes. SPF rates the level of UVB protection.
The FDA has proposed a UVA star rating system for sunscreen labels of one to four stars to indicate the level of UVA protection. Currently there is no protection factor for UVA radiation on any labels.
The top four sunscreens provided “very good” UVA protection and “excellent” UVB protection, and met their SPF claims even after treated skin was in water for 80 minutes.
Each of the sunscreens had a moderately intense floral or citrus scent and left little residue on the skin.
Up & Up also received a “best buy” ranking from Consumer Reports Health. All four of the top brands cost a lot less than La Roche-Posay, which costs $18.82 per ounce.
Ranking below the top four were:
Consumer Reports Health says the active ingredient in Burt’s Bees, titanium dioxide, does not absorb the entire UVA spectrum as effectively as alternatives like avobenzone.
Avon, Consumer Reports Health says, makes no claim about protection from UVA rays, but the product doubles as a bug repellent.
The report says sunbathers should buy sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which it says is enough for most people, and that sunscreens also should be water resistant.
Consumer Reports Health offers the following recommendations:
“A top-performing sunscreen isn’t going to give you any protection if its smell or the way it feels on your skin is so offensive to you that you won’t use it,” Gayle Williams, deputy editor of Consumer Reports Health, says in a news release. “The Aveeno Continuous protection spray is one of the mildest in terms of scent and leaves a bit of a greasy residue that is mild compared to some others. But if you prefer that beach scent, you might try the Up & Up by Target or the Walgreens Sport Continuous.”
The article is published in the May 25 issue of Consumer Reports.
SOURCES:News release, Consumer Reports Health.Williams, G. Consumer Reports Health.
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