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In Consumer Reports' latest ratings of sunscreens, Target’s Up & Up Sport SPF 50 spray and Walmart’s Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 lotion earned the highest scores in tests and were among the least expensive, the magazine reported.
Some of the priciest sunscreens Consumer Reports tested offered less than their labeled SPF value, a measure of protection from burning UVB rays.
The Food and Drug Administration now has new rules governing sunscreens. According to the agency, one of the most important requirements is the testing and labeling that identifies sunscreens that are "broad spectrum." Broad spectrum means that the sunscreen should offer protection against UVB and UVA rays.
Consumer Reports evaluated 12 sunscreens for their effectiveness at protecting against UVA and UVB rays -- both of which can cause skin cancer. Six sunscreens, including the top-scoring products from Target and Walmart, Coppertone Water Babies 50 lotion and Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50 rated very good overall. They guarded against UVB rays before and after 80 minutes under water and were very good against UVA rays -- all at a cost $1.67 or less per ounce.
Although there are potential safety concerns associated with several sunscreen ingredients based on animal study findings, Consumer Reports continues to recommend the use of sunscreen as part of a broad approach to sun protection.
All of Consumer Reports' top-rated sunscreens offer broad spectrum protection based on its tests. The full report, which includes ratings of all 12 sunscreens tested, is featured in the July issue of Consumer Reports and is available at www.ConsumerReports.org.