The good news is that eight of the 12 tested products scored Very Good ratings when it came to protecting against UVA and UVB rays. Only one product — All Terrain AquaSport SPF 30 — scored a Fair rating in that category. This product also had the lowest overall score on the Consumer Reports list.
Three of the four top-scoring products in the test were store brands from large national chains. Target’s UP & UP Sport SPF 50 spray had the highest overall score, followed by Walmart’s Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 lotion. At only $.47/oz., the Walmart lotion was also labeled a “Best Buy” by CR. The Target spray goes for about $1.16/oz.
Coppertone Water Babies 50 lotion was the only non-store brand to crack the top four, and at $1.38/oz. it’s not much more expensive than the others in its range of scores, like the Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50 from Walgreens which had the fourth-highest overall score and sells for around $1.33/oz.
Some of the higher-priced products in the survey, like Badger Unscented SPF 34 lotion ($5.52/oz.) and the aforementioned All Terrain AquaSport SPF 30 lotion ($4.33/oz.) di not do well on tests for protection against UVB rays, says Consumer Reports. The most expensive sunscreen in the test, California Baby SPF 30+ ($6.90/oz.) only received a “Good” rating on tests for protection against UVA rays and a “Poor” rating for staining fabrics.
Since CR could not possibly test every sunscreen there is, it recommends that when you go looking for protection this summer, you seek out a product that claims broad-spectrum protection, is water resistant, and has a stated SPF of at least 40.
For more on sunscreens, including how CR tested the products, go to ConsumerReports.org.