Planning a family outing for the 4th of July? Well, experts recommend not forgetting the sunscreen. But selecting the best sunscreen may seem discouraging especially when a new Consumer Reports study suggests that nearly half of sun protection products fail to deliver their promises.
Trisha Calvo, senior researcher involved in the analysis, explained that testing has shown that many sunscreens do not provide the protection customers are paying for. Calvo cautioned that just because it is written on the label, it doesn’t mean that it is true.
CR researchers tested 65 different sunscreen brands with a sun protection factor above 30. Laboratory testing revealed that 43 percent of analyzed products had lower SPF than advertised.
Sting Free SPF 50 lotion and Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free fared the worst with a mere SPF 8.
The study also revealed that mineral-based sunscreens, which promise to be a natural alternative to chemical sunscreens, are the most likely to fail to meet the advertised SPF level. Nearly two-thirds of mineral sunscreens fell short of their claims compared with slightly more than 40 percent of their chemical counterparts, the research shows.
The analysis also showed that the products with SPF ranging from 40 to 110 had the highest chance of having a sun protection level higher than the recommended SPF 30. Those in the 30-39 range were less likely to be effective.
Calvo’s team recommends customers to pick one of the 17 sunscreens that fared well in their tests. Those sunscreens include Banana Boat SunComfort Continuous Spray SPF 50+, Pure Sun Defense SPF 50, and Aveeno Protect + Hydrate SPF 30. You can check the whole list on CR site.
However, if you cannot find the recommended sunscreens, you should opt for a chemical sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 40, researchers said. Furthermore, you should also ensure that you limit your time outdoors in the afternoon or at least wear clothing that protects you from damaging radiation such as wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts.
You should also stay away from vitamin A supplements as many sunscreens already contain it. Several studies had shown that solar exposure combined with vitamin A supplementation can lead to skin tumors and lesions. A sunscreen containing vitamin A features terms such as retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl linoleate, or retinal acetate on its label.
Moreover, play safe and stay away from oxybenzone, which is a hormone disruptor that can lead to allergies.
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