Sunscreens - What You Need to Know



<p>Sun Protection</p>

Sun Protection

Its almost summer, and that means finding the best protection from the sun.

But, do you look for SPF? Should you go waterproof or broad spectrum? And if you pay more, are you really getting the best?

The higher the SPF, the better the protection, right? Not necessarily.

Consumer Reports' latest tests find there's no guarantee you are getting the level of protection listed on the label. You need to do your own research.

Paying more does not always mean a better quality sunscreen. 

Consumer Reports tested 12 sunscreens claiming to protect against cancer causing UVA and UVB rays.

The surprising result? Some of the least expensive brands were the most effective.  Target's Up and Up, Walmart's Equate, Coppertone and Hawaiian Tropic lead the pack.

More costly brands like Terrain Aquasport and Badger tested far below standards.

Dermatologist Dr. Sidney Smith said spending more doesn't mean you have a better product.

He adds SPF only blocks UVB rays, that's the burn factor, but not the UVA rays, the rays that cause wrinkles and aging.

"It's important to have not only the SPF of 30 or above, but in addition, you need to have something that blocks the UVA, like zinc or titanium or avobenzone," says Smith.

"I use it as a base for my make-up," said Holly Phippen of Utah.

"I use it on the kids and don't use it as much on me. I'm just thinking that's really silly," said Cheryl Myers of Kennewick.

Sunscreen should also be applied at least 15-30 minutes before heading outdoors, and be re-applied every two hours - even when in the water.

Dr. Smith said the term, broad spectrum, means the sunscreen is supposed to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, but that's not always as advertised.

He added, it often comes down to a personal preference.

So, do your research, and happy sunning!