Sunny skies and warm weather are on the horizon, which means it’s time to stock up on sunscreen for summer. But what’s the best sunscreen for you and your family? Consumer Reports‘ sunscreen rankings are out, and its top picks are surprisingly affordable.
Annual Consumer Reports’ Sunscreen List
Consumer Reports tested more than 70 sun-protection products, including sunscreen, sticks, sprays, and lip balms, looking at how well they shielded our skin from cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays. Their top four recommendations were as follows:
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk ($35.99, Amazon)
- Equate (Walmart) Sport Lotion SPF 50 ($4.98, Walmart)
- BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50 ($8.49, Walmart)
- Coppertone WaterBabies SPF 50 Lotion ($6.38, Walmart)
If you prefer the ease of a sunscreen spray, Trader Joe’s SPF 50+ was top dog, and it will only set you back $6 (talk about protecting your skin and your wallet!).
Dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, appeared on Good Morning America to discuss Consumer Reports‘ rankings and what you should look for when you’re shopping for sunscreen. There are three FDA-approved terms to look for on a bottle, according to Bowe, and they are SPF, broad spectrum, and water resistant. Companies must meet certain standards in order to put these words on their products, Bowe says. But she cautions that words like “natural,” “mineral,” “dermatologist recommended,” and “sport” are not terms that the FDA regulates. “Pretty much any company can throw them on the tube and they don’t have to meet any requirements.”
You’re probably familiar with “sun protection factor,” or SPF, but what does broad spectrum mean? “Broad spectrum is so important because it means it covers both UVA and UVB rays, and both of those can cause skin cancer,” Bowe says. “But with water-resistant, it’s important if you’re swimming, if you’re sweating — maybe not so much if you’re going to work.”
Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be able to quickly pick out the best sunscreen for your budget. Anti-aging creams can be ridiculously expensive, so isn’t it nice to know you can do a good thing by protecting your skin without breaking the bank?