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Sunscreen: Best protection and value

As summer approaches, make sure you don’t get burned when buying sunscreen. Consumer Reports expert testing reveals which lotions and sprays offer the best protection, and the best value.

For the fifth year in a row, Consumer Reports finds some sunscreens during testing failed to provide the level of protection promised on the package. In fact, of the 58 products in CR’s ratings, 20 tested at less than half of their labeled SPF number.

But Consumer Reports’ extensive testing found a number of sunscreens that provide solid protection against sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkles and are also a good value.

  • Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50
  • Equate Ultra Protection Lotion SPF 50
  • Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30
  • Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+
  • Pure Sun Defense Lotion SPF 50

Consumer Reports says if you can’t find one of their recommended products, choose a sunscreen with at least 40 SPF that contains chemical active ingredients such as avobenzone rather than one with mineral active ingredients like zinc oxide.

Consumer Reports also says using the best sunscreen won’t protect your skin if you’re not using it properly. They suggest applying at least one teaspoon to each body part 15 to 30 minutes before going out and reapplying every two hours.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit