Buy The Right Sunscreen And Avoid Sunburn

Buying the right sunscreen could mean the difference between a pleasant day at the beach and a nightmare of splotchy pain. Consumer Reports conducted a poll to see how you people use sunscreen, and even dunked a bunch of volunteers in a tub for forty minutes to see how different sunscreens held up. Inside, the sunscreens that earned Consumer Reports’ praise, and a few tips for avoiding the dreaded summer sunburn.

So which sunscreens work well? Consumer Reports recommends:

  • Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50
  • Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 (lotion)
  • Up & Up Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30

If drugstore sunscreens aren’t good enough for your precious skin, there are a few pricier alternatives from last year that may still be available, including:

  • Blue Lizard Regular Australian SPF 30+
  • Mustella Bébé/Enfant High Protection SPF 50
  • Lancôme Paris Sôleil Ultra Expert Sun Care for Sensitive Skin SPF 50
  • Fallene Cotz SPF 58

Keep a close eye on expiration dates, and chuck any sunscreen that is more than two years old. Always apply sunscreen at least fifteen minutes before heading out so your skin can soak up the yummy protection. And don’t rely on sunscreen alone; a big floopy hat can help provide a needed umbrella of protective shade.

CR poll: Who’s using sunscreen? [Consumer Reports]
(Photo: mtoz)

Comments

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  1. Eldritch says:

    I just stay inside. Goth + Irish pale skin = burn no matter how much sunscreen I use. D:

    • Snakeophelia says:

      @Eldritch: That’s a great part of being in the Goth scene, isn’t it? Having started with the “pale look” in 1989, it’s nice that now my skin isn’t as leathery as other women my age. :)

      • Eldritch says:

        @Snakeophelia: True story. There’s something to be said about the goth lifestyle and looking young. No sun means better skin, less signs of aging and wrinkles.

      • richcreamerybutter says:

        @Snakeophelia: But don’t you grow weary of really young, good-looking men (or women?) 10-15 years your junior trying to get your phone number? ;)

      • The_IT_Crone says:

        @Snakeophelia: Me too. Goth+IT geek= the only light that touches me is flourescent.

        After amost 2 decades of it, people always peg me for 10 years younger than I am.

  2. laserjobs says:

    I would think that putting chemicals on your skin would cause just as much cancer as it prevented. I will stick to getting some vitamin D by limiting my sun exposure and not using chemicals on my skin.

    • icantreplyright says:

      @laserjobs: I agree. Salads make people fat as well. Think about it- ALL fat people you know eat salads, don’t they?

    • Alvarez says:

      @laserjobs: I would tend to agree with this if only because I was burned so much as a kid and my family has a history of skin cancer.

      However, if I ever go to disneyland again or some place where I need to spend time in the sun, this kind of thing is useful. Certainly don’t use the stuff every weekend though.

    • LuckyEmmie says:

      @laserjobs: the active ingredients in better sunscreens are minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc. they’re not harmful, cancer-causing chemicals– they’re minerals that don’t even get absorbed into the skin.

      • FigNinja says:

        @LuckyEmmie:

        Actually, there is some evidence that the micronized versions of these minerals do enter your body and may be harmful. The micronized versions are more chemically elegant so are quite popular. If it’s not micronized, the mineral often leaves a strong white cast. Since these are physical blockers, diluting or applying too thinly compromises protection especially from UVA. If you look at the thicknesses needed to achieve the posted test results, it’s more than most people will apply anyway.

        Personally, I prefer Tinosorb. It absorbs UVA and UVB and has not shown any estrogenic effects with in vitro testing. I have to order it from Europe but it’s worth it. The other UVA-blocking options here (other than the aforementioned minerals) are typically Avobenzone and Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has estrogenic effects and is absorbed by the body. Avobenzone is not photostable in many formulas. Yes, it breaks down when exposed to light unless combined with certain other chemicals in the right proportion. Brilliant. A sunscreen that shouldn’t be exposed to light. It’s only recently that US manufacturers have caught on to this and started offering photostable formulas. Even if it is photostable, it can de-stabilize when exposed to Titianium Dioxide which is a main ingredient in pretty much all foundations and face powders. So if you put it on your face and then apply makeup, you’ve likely negated much of the use of applying it in the first place. Beyond that, most Avobenzone formulas also have Oxybenzone so it’s a moot point to me. Mexoryl has recently been approved in the US but it also tends to be paired with Oxybenzone and even if it isn’t, it has the consistency of motor oil. I find it very unpleasant to use.

      • FigNinja says:

        @LuckyEmmie:

        By the way, here are some links on the dangers of micronized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide:

        [www.cosmeticsdatabase.com]

        [www.cosmeticsdatabase.com]

    • eelmonger says:

      @laserjobs: I bet you refuse to put the chemical monohydrogen dioxide on your skin too.

      • xoforoct wishes he lived in chasm city says:

        @eelmonger: dude, its dihydrogen monoxide…

      • ARP says:

        @eelmonger: Ha! You couldn’t even pull off your right wing trick correctly. Look at your nomenclature. One Hydrogen and two Oxygen? You just described hydroxic acid. So yes, I wouldn’t want it on my skin either. If you’re going to use that trick, do it right. Also, if we threatened to put in a dihydrogen monoxide (the right chemical name) processing plant in a conservative suburb, they’d be the first to organize a NIMBY protest.

        BOT- I think you should weigh the the potential, and yet unproven harm of the chemical sunscreens versus the very real harm of the sun. Until some verifiable studies prove otherwise, my money will stay with sunscreens.

        Also, they do make “natural” sunscreens that are mineral based. You’re required to use them when diving in certain areas (Cozumel, Great Barrier Reef, etc.). They don’t last as long and they leave you a bit white, but if you’re concerned about the chemicals, its the way to go. Try drugstore dot com.

      • henwy says:

        @eelmonger: FTL

    • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

      @laserjobs: When people use the term “chemical” to mean that something is inherently bad, they only show their ignorance. Water is a chemical. The vitamins and minerals essential to life are chemicals. Proteins, fats, etc? Chemicals involved there, too! Your brain’s function? Electricity and, say it with me, CHEMICALS.

      • manus manum lavat says:

        @OMG! Con Seannery!: There’s a great bit on one of my favorite movies, Proof, where one (annoying) sister is trying to get the other to use some sort of hair product she bought. Annoying sister mentions it has Jojoba in it. The other sister says, “What is that? A chemical?” Annoying sister says, “Oh no! It’s completely organic.” To which the other sister replies with some asperity, “Chemicals can be organic. Have you ever heard of organic chemistry?” There’s also an exchange where the annoying one says it makes your hair “healthy”, and the other sister tells her that hair is dead. God I love that movie. I really should own it on DVD.

        • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

          @cambiata: I was about to just be an asshole and chime in on the guy talking about oxybenzone “It can’t be bad! It’s organic!”

        • HogwartsAlum says:

          @cambiata:
          That sounds like me and my sister. She’s always falling into the “expensive cosmetics are better” trap. I’m always telling her that Oil of Olay is better than some pricey Lancome crap.

          Except she’s gotten me hooked on their $27 lipsticks. Damn!

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @laserjobs: i usually don’t wear sunscreen, but that’s because i usually forget. over the summer, i like to wear one of those SPF30 tshirts, and spray my arms with sunscreen if/when i remember – it’s also a lot easier than trying to get coverage on my back (i’d like to know what consumer reports thinks of these shirts opposed to sunscreen, and i’d also like to know how long the SPF protection lasts.)

  3. sonneillon says:

    I have had good results with Banana Boat SPF 50 sunscreen. The stuff applies like Crisco and makes me feel greasy all day but I leave as white as I showed up. I think as opposed to SPF 50 it should be considered 10W50.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @sonneillon:

      I use the BB 50 for babies. It’s hypoallergenic as well and doesn’t make me itch.

      And I put my pool where it’s in the shade in the afternoon. The only problem with that is that I get hypothermia.

  4. paulrules says:

    Yay for brown skin.

  5. JE says:

    Really? There’s a separate subscription for consumerreportshealth.org? I already have a consumerreports.org subscription.

    Lame.

    • floraposte says:

      @JE: Agreed. Feh.

    • Propaniac says:

      @JE: Isn’t Consumer Reports Health a separate publication? I’m under that impression because I have a CR mag subscription but I don’t get the CR Health, but I’ve seen the CR Health at my parents’ house. If it’s a separate publication it makes some sense it’s a separate website.

      That being said, I’m puzzled why you’re mentioning CR Health at all, because the sunscreen report is in the regular magazine.

  6. geekgrrl77 says:

    I’m surprised Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist didn’t make the list.

    I’m VERY fair skinned, burn/freckle in minutes, and my skin is sensitive to most everything. I need a sunblock I can wear everyday AND wear running (that will hold up to sweat without making my pores feel clogged up).

    The Ultra Sheer works for both everyday and running and I can’t even tell I’m wearing it. I keep a bottle at home and in my bag.

    • floraposte says:

      @geekgrrl77: I suspect it’s because a number of products that effectively prevent sunburn don’t effectively block the UVA rays, just the UVB rays. Unfortunately, leaving you unburned/untanned isn’t the whole story. I think that’s the biggest change in understanding and the hardest to work with, because it means we can’t tell if a sunscreen is doing UVA-blocking.

      So don’t assume your sunscreen is good just because you’re not getting sunburned. Check to make sure it’s broad-spectrum, or hopefully even explicit about blocking UVA as well as UVB.

      • misokitty says:

        @floraposte: Just checked my bottle of Neutrogena Sheer Mist and it does cover both UVA and UVB rays.

        • floraposte says:

          @misokitty: That’s good! It’s increasingly common in sunscreens to cover both, but not all do. And, as I said, we’ve been taught previously to judge by tan level, and unfortunately that’s just not good enough any more. Bah, what a mess.

    • bohemian says:

      @geekgrrl77: Is that the one in the metal spray can? It is the only thing that keeps me from turning into a lobster. I have Neutrogena’s facial 50spf. It goes a good job without messing up your pores and you can apply make up over it.

      I get sunburned looking out a window it seems so having something that actually works is nice.

    • dwb says:

      @geekgrrl77: I use the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF45 and it’s great! You don’t even know you’re wearing it and it lasts a long time and protects against UVA/UVB very well. A little expensive, but well worth it to me to not feel like a greaseball.

  7. Parsnip says:

    I bought the Walgreens continuous spray SPF 30 a couple of weeks ago for a trip to a theme park. It was easy to apply and re-apply after the water rides. It did run into my eyes at one point and it burnt like hell, but my skin didn’t, and that was the idea.

  8. chemmy says:

    I used Aveeno SPF 70 facial sunscreen (so I don’t break out) recently and I still burned :( And yes, I was also wearing a hat to help keep the rays off of me.

    Interestingly enough I used Aveeno regular sunscreen SPF 35 on the rest of my body at the same time and no burn.

    • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

      @chemmy: Anything above 40 or 50 is excessive, it’s no difference past that.

      • chemmy says:

        @OMG! Con Seannery!:

        Yes I know but the facial sunscreen I wanted didn’t come in anything lower than 70… I just didn’t want to break out while trying to avoid sunburn.

      • Kathryn E. Everett says:

        @OMG! Con Seannery!:
        The math may be right, but I can tell the difference. at 45 SPF I have to reapply every half hour, at 70 I can go six or seven before I burn.

        I burn really, really easily though.

        My current love is the Neutrogena 70 SPF helioplex (blah blah blah…) It got me through Disney World, and now that I’m walking outside on a regular basis its a life saver. (exercise in long sleeves and face scarves is not comfortable.)

  9. Nicole Massey says:

    Just FYI for all the sensitive skinned people out there, coppertone water babies contains an chemical that about 10% of people are allergic to. For me and my family it was a horrible burning sensation about 10-15 mins after product was applied and continued until it was washed off with soap and water- leaving horrible red welts. I don’t know what it is but a skin dr I saw years later told me he’s heard many stories of this and that “it should be criminal that these products don’t have to put warnings on their labels!”
    Don’t know what other brands may have it…just wanted to warn people.

    • Verzon Wyrless says:

      @Nicole Massey:
      Glad to hear that I’m not the only one that had a horrible skin reaction after applying Coppertone. I believe it was just a regular brand

      My reaction happened about 8 hours I applied the sunblock. I had these little red hives/welts all over my face and arms. It was itchy and it drove me nuts. Thankfully, I got hydrocortisone and calamine lotion.

      Never used Coppertone again. However, my friend is recommending Neutragena, but I’m too scared to try.

    • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

      @Nicole Massey: What is that ingredient? I’m becoming more and more sensitive to sunscreens, I’d like to see if that’s the problem.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @Nicole Massey:

      Yikes, wow! Thanks for the warning. I’ll stay away from that one.

    • randomangela47 says:

      @Nicole Massey: Oxybenzone has been linked to allergic reactions (along with hormone disruption and cell damage), and it’s in damn near every sunscreen out there. You might be able to find some safe suggestions at [www.cosmeticsdatabase.com]

  10. ipodrulz says:

    It’s not the burning that really matters for me, I’m just wondering, does all sunscreen prevent you from getting darker? I already have really tanned skin, and every year it gets worse and worse – what type of sunscreen should I use!?

  11. randomangela47 says:

    I’m surprised to see Consumer Reports recommending that we slather ourselves with toxic chemicals. Oxybenzone is recognized by the CDC as having some pretty nasty health impacts, and it is an active ingredient in all three of the top rated sunscreens. Sure, it makes the sunscreen more effective and long lasting in blocking UV rays, you know, while disrupting your hormonal balance… As well as the hormonal balance of critters exposed to any runoff — apparently at some beaches there has been an outbreak of hermaphroditic critters linked to people applying sunscreens containing oxybenzone, then jumping in for a swim.

    [www.ewg.org] – mentions CDC recognition of risk
    I learned about the hermaphroditic critters from Bill Nye’s Stuff Happens – [planetgreen.discovery.com]

    • Jessica Haas says:

      @randomangela47: Oh my. Hermaphroditic?

    • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

      @randomangela47: But what concentrations and dosages are needed to cause appreciable harm? Does it bioaccumulate? I’ll admit, I haven’t heard of this one before, but keep in mind that many of these studies which find everyday things to be harmful do so in completely unrealistic dosages. Everything is a poison. It’s a matter of dose, not substance.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @OMG! Con Seannery!: My doctor did encourage me to use barrier methods (hats, long-sleeve shirts, shade) if I was going to be a sun-bunny because the chemicals in chemical sunscreen can be dangerous in large doses and someone who spends all summer outside could potentially get a dose that high. The physical barrier sunscreens (“mineral” sunscreens) are apparently less-bad, but a lot of people don’t like the film they leave.

        As I am not a sun-bunny, doc said to feel okay slathering up on those rare occasions I’m in the sun and NOT wearing barrier clothing, but to keep it in mind. Doc said there isn’t good data so not to get panicked about it, but it’s worth keeping in the back of my mind.

        (And every cell phone I own ends up with mineral sunscreen all over it because I wear it on my face every day and even 12 hours later that stuff is still smudging off on my phone.)

    • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

      @randomangela47: Is Oxybenzone a phytoestrogen?

  12. richcreamerybutter says:

    Buying the right sunscreen could mean the difference between a pleasant day at the beach and a nightmare of splotchy pain.

    Not to mention, looking like a well-worn hag with a leather glove for a face before the age of 30. Seriously. I notice that tanning has come back “in” for girls in their early 20s, and it shows; their decolletages have the qualities of a Sunday ham. If you compare UV Polaroids in people a generation apart, you’ll often notice a comparable amount of damage, due to the rapid depletion of the ozone layer.

    • veronykah says:

      @richcreamerybutter: Hm guess I’ve been lucky. I’m 30, love the sun and get mistaken for 24 all the time.

      [en.wikipedia.org]

      From Wikipedia

      “Although decreases in stratospheric ozone are well-tied to CFCs and there are good theoretical reasons to believe that decreases in ozone will lead to increases in surface UVB, there is no direct observational evidence linking ozone depletion to higher incidence of skin cancer in human beings.”

      • duncanfj says:

        @veronykah: Actually, ozone depletion would lead to an increase in UVC, which would increase skin cancer. UVB is indeed the cause of most skin cancers, but that is because UVC if blocked by the ozone layer. UVC is a really nasty mutagen. That entry in wikipedia should be edited because it is very misleading.

    • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

      @richcreamerybutter: Wow, and I really believed you there for ALMOST that entire comment! Then, BAM. You brought in the environment as the cause of tanning. I don’t have time to locate sources at the moment, but I was under the impression that the problems with ozone depletion were declining as a result of our awareness of the issue. Also, the polar hole in it is seasonal. Most people don’t understand that. Sure, what we’ve done has made it larger, but a good part of the reason for it is seasonal changes.

      • richcreamerybutter says:

        @OMG! Con Seannery!: @veronykah: If you’ve seen UV Polaroids of parents and their adult children of certain age ranges, you will notice a comparable amount of damage. Conclusive data tracing this damage to cancer may not exist (yet).

        Even though I shunned tanning beds as a teenager when they became the rage in the 80s, I still never wore sunscreen at the beach. Around the age of 20, I started using spf moisturizer (in its early days), and wore the highest spf possible. After about 10 years of this routine, I had the UV Polaroids done with my parents for fun, and as it turned out I still had almost as much damage as they had after many more years of sun exposure.

        Studies suggest that mass ozone depletion first became a problem in the late 70s (as the Wiki article confirms)…it’s not far fetched to wonder if the 10 or so years between then and my spf routine caused more damage than to people of previous generations.

        Veronykah, you may be lucky for the time being, but sun worship WILL catch up with you. I see girls in their early 20s with crepey lines around their eyes and between their breasts, and wonder how they will fare. My friends and I often joke that high school goths have the best skin as they age, but it’s pretty much the truth.

      • richcreamerybutter says:

        @OMG! Con Seannery!: Also, whether or not education is contributing to a decline in ozone issues is still irrelevant to the fact that frying in the sun is simply never a good idea. You don’t have to be an environmentalist to realize that the basal cell carcinoma on your ear or melanoma on your back might result in a fatality. The possibility that someone could die because of their desire for darker skin is rather ridiculous, don’t you think?

        In any case, now is a great time to encourage your medical school-bound kids to consider dermatology as a specialty.

        • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

          @richcreamerybutter: I see your points, yes. I still caution you, though, to remember that correlation does not equal causation. On the other hand, that is plausible, especially considering that one theory for the final mass extinction of the dinosaurs is that the asteroid caused superhurricanes which extended up into the stratosphere and carved apart the ozone layer. Interesting issue, to say the least. Now, I do like to build up a bit of a tan at the start of the summer to protect from sunburn throughout the season, but skin cancer, while easily taken care of and usually caught early, is not fun stuff.

          • duncanfj says:

            @OMG! Con Seannery!: Skin cancer can be easily taken care of, if it is basal cell. It can also be severely disfiguring because it is usually cut out and the derms are usually very cautious in cutting way beyond the visible tumor margins. Squamous cell and melanoma often metastasize, so not so easily taken care of.

          • HogwartsAlum says:

            @OMG! Con Seannery!:
            A base tan won’t protect you. It’s still damage. There is no such thing as a healthy tan.

            Wear your sunscreen! Or, as the article said, a big floopy hat!

  13. Erin Cummins says:

    I use neutrogena because it’s a non greasy formula that’s not as gross to wear and sand doesn’t stick to it. It’s also is good for climbers and people who don’t want greasy hands; however, it’s not sweat proof or run proof and if you’re biking or something it can run into your eyes and sting.

    I started using the spf 30 because of a consumer report that says anything over 30 is a scam (used to by spf 50) and as long as I reapply every 3 hours I’m fine. It’s a UVA/UVB formula as well.

    Warning: it’s not cheap! A bottle of neutrogena is $8.99 at target and for Bonnaroo I usually bring 4 bottles (and a large hat).

    • Oface says:

      @Erin Cummins: Its actually on sale right now for $7 at target.

    • kerry says:

      @Erin Cummins: I use the neutrogena, too. The “dry touch” stuff for the body, and the tinted SPF 30 moisturizer on the face. I’ve never had an adverse reaction to Neutrogena, which I can’t say for other brands. Stuff stings like hell if it gets in your eyes, though.
      I’ll also toss in a vote for the Blue Lizard lotion, which CR recommended. My SO used it 2-3 times daily while we were in Galapagos last summer and didn’t burn and barely tanned. It’s a bit greasy and heavy, but if you’re serious about sunblock it’s good stuff. (I used SPF 70 Neutrogena and colored quite a bit, but no burning).

      • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

        @kerry: Blue Lizard Sensitive Skin formula is awesome. When my skin is sensitive it’s the only thing I can use, and I’ve never burned while using it. It is goopy and “white” though.

    • grumpygirl says:

      @Erin Cummins: Rite-Aid sells a generic of the Neutrogena. If it’s any different from the name brand, I haven’t been able to tell the difference. Last year, the Rite-Aid brand was $4 less for the same size of the Neutrogena.

  14. richcreamerybutter says:

    I managed to get a bottle of the Fallene Cotz SPF 58 for free, and it’s pretty amazing. Though fairly expensive, it might be ideal for special occasions that take place during the day.

    • monkeybot says:

      @richcreamerybutter: I use TIZO3 SPF 40, which is made for Fallene. It’s been pretty effective since I started using it (arm is tanning, but face is not). The active ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide.

    • CFinWV says:

      @ajlei: Oh snap, I guess you’d punch me then. I haven’t found one that my skin can handle, I guess that makes me a bad person in your world?

  15. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Floopy hats FTW! My biggest, floopiest one is 2 1/2 feet across. It’s a little hard to store.

  16. blueneon says:

    what would one use that wants to get a tan but not get sunburnt?

  17. comatoseone says:

    I reviewed my health care FSA account and it turns out that it will reimburse me for the costs of sunscreen. (funny…not toothpaste or toothbrushes, but band aids and sunscreen) I think it will also reimburse me for lip balm that has SPF in it. Read the small print in your FSA and see if you can do the same.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Neutrogena on the face and neck. Sun-protective clothing for the rest of me. Saves money in the long run, and more effective, since you’re less likely to miss a spot. Having already had several skin biopsies (thankfully all benign), I keep a Coolibar zip-up and scarf in my bag at all times. I may look like a dork, but I no longer have to refuse unexpected outdoor events, like lunch.

  19. dkoval says:

    Does your sunscreen work? An investigation of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreen products finds that 4 out of 5 contain chemicals that may pose health hazards or don’t adequately protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Some of the worst offenders are leading brands like Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Neutrogena.

    [www.cosmeticsdatabase.com]

  20. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    hey consumer reports/consumerist/consumer’s union (what do we actually call you guys?):
    what about NO-AD? [www.no-ad.com] it’s not advertised, and is much less expensive for a similar SPF of the name brand stuff (supposedly because they don’t advertise, so it’s cheaper) – is this stuff actually as good as the name brands, or is it just a lot cheaper than the name brands?

  21. ajlei says:

    I don’t know what I would do if I met someone who refused to use drugstore sunscreens. I might punch them.

    Last summer, I went to Vegas, and as pale and burn-prone as I am, I did some serious shopping. The lotion I came away with was Banana Boat Sun Wear SPF 50. I left Vegas looking no darker than when I’d arrived…. so I guess that’s a good thing.

  22. OsiUmenyiora says:

    This is good news. I already use Walgreen’s just because it’s inexpensive and not goopy. I’m hairy all over so I like a non-greasy sunscreen. It’s tough trying to use some chick’s fancy French stuff when it makes my chest hair clump up.

    And I need it too. I’m a blue-eyed redhead who just had a squamous cell carcinoma cut off my chest less than a month ago. Use sunscreen people.

  23. Norcross says:

    Health risks aside, I’ve never worn anything other than Coppertone Sport 35. It’s kept all my tattoos bright, and my pale-ass irish skin from roasting.

    Not to mention, most of those SPF numbers are useless anyway. It’s nearly mathematically impossible for all but the fairest of skins to benefit from an SPF 70. Since SPF is supposed to protect your skin for 10x the amount of time it normally takes to burn, you’d have to be in the sun for 8-10 hours straight, non-stop, without anything blocking the sun’s rays.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I like Consumer Reports in general, but this time they really screwed up. Every single sunscreen they recommended ranks “High Hazard” for your health due to their ingredients at the Cosmetic Database site: http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com/

    They have completely ignored the risk that the ingredients expose you to. You will not get cancer from UVA or UVB, but you may get it by putting on these sunscreens! There is some proof out there that Oxybenzone is really not something you want on your skin!

  25. ben gardners boat says:

    French Stewart doesn’t seem to enjoy whatever he’s putting on his face in that picture.

  26. Joe Lachiana says:

    Saying a tan is skin damage is like saying that working out damages your muscles.

    Can you over do it? Yep. Just like you can overdo eating, drinking water, and wearing sunscreen. If self control is the problem then that’s the problem! Not what these people are abusing! I get carded for buying compressed air and white out cause people have been known to ABUSE THEM! What? People huff white out so they imediatey assume everyone is. Yeah, that’s it. 300million people and the actions of a few ruin it for all.

    This is America or Saudi Arabia? I thought adults were considered such cause they can now make life decisions which may include burning up in the sun or huffing glue. Shouldn’t have anything to do with anyone else.

    People who live by cultural perception, rhymes, and wives’s tales really should think about attending some science and/or human biology classes and never-mind what other people are doing to themselves. Regulate the country out of business in the name of being “safe”.

  27. vladthepaler says:

    There are a lot of chemicals that are used in sunscreen that are just as bad for you as excess sun. Did CR consider the use of those chemicals in making its recommendations?

  28. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to compare the CR list (and criteria) to the study done last year by the EWG (Environmental working Group). The EWG report looked at whether a product blocked both UVA and UVB radiation, remained stable in sunlight (a plus, I would think), and finally whether it contained ingredients that are known or suspected health hazards. It’s a useful resource if you’re concerned about what exactly you’re putting on your skin.

    http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/special/sunscreens2008/summary.php

    ps…my aunt just had some skin cancer removed from her face last week. Dime sized to the eye, but actually more like the size of a golf ball when it was removed. Super Scary – Pass the sunscreen!

  29. mzs says:

    I have sunburned knees this morning. When applying sunblock do it sitting down, not standing-up. My shorts pulled-up over my knees when I sat down and I did not think about it that I had not put sunblock that high since I was standing and my shorts covered my knees. Then last night I had a terrible sunburn.

  30. jswilson64 says:

    I like the Coppertone Water Babies product they recommended. As an already-pale white guy, with vitelligo, sunscreen is a must. The Water Babies gets some wisecracks from the other dads on Boy Scout camping trips, but I like it because it’s fairly waterproof, yet washes off easily with soap. And doesn’t burn my eyes as much as other brands when it inevitably gets in there.

  31. Teka England says:

    I used Blue Lizard as a summer lifeguard, and even as a pasty white Irish girl, it stayed on through the constant in-and-out-and-in-and-out and towelings off for a good 8 hours.

    A little spendy, but totally worth it, IMHO.

  32. AltheaGalopamonster says:

    The very best sun block comes from Europe, and contains Mexoryl, available only online because the FDA has not approved it. The chemical’s been used for decades in Europe; as an extremely fair-skinned woman on meds that make me even more sun sensitive, I cannot recommend this enough. Not cheap, but worth it. I use the brand LA ROCHE-POSAY, and get it through a Canadian site.

  33. dmcverry says:

    I use stuff called p20. I’m Irish & obviously don’t tale well to the sun. The stuff is a life saver. I haven’t burned once in the 7 years I’ve been using it. And what’s more, you only need 1 app each day.

    It smells a bit like vodka though, so if you’re feeling a bit fragile after a night out, it can be close to the line