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Inexpensive Sunscreens Get Top Ratings

By Nick Tate   |   Thursday, 23 May 2013 03:57 PM

Inexpensive store-brand sunscreens from Target and Walmart received topped rankings in a new Consumer Reports analysis.
The analysis — tied to Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer in many areas of the country — gave Target’s Up & Up Sport SPF 50 spray and Walmart’s Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 lotion the highest scores in tests of their ability to protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Both were also among the least expensive.
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Meanwhile, some of the priciest sunscreens Consumer Reports tested offered less protection than their SPF label claimed.
The Food and Drug Administration 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 both UVB and UVA rays, both of which cause skin cancer.
All of 12 top-rated sunscreens tested offered broad spectrum protection, according to the report featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine. Six sunscreens, including the Target and Walmart products, 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.
The least effective sunscreens were among the priciest. Both Badger Unscented SPF 34 lotion and All Terrain AquaSport SPF 30 lotion — costing $5.52 and $4.33 per ounce, respectively — were poor at guarding against UVB rays, the magazine reported.
Consumer Reports suggests using a sunscreen that claims broad spectrum protection, has an SPF of at least 40, and is water resistant. 
To stay safe, experts also advise limiting time in the sun, reapplying  sunscreen  every  two hours, and wearing protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.
Sunscreen should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure. Experts also advise not storing sunscreen in a hot car because it may degrade.

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Inexpensive store-brand sunscreens from Target and Walmart received topped rankings in a new Consumer Reports analysis of sun-protection products.

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