Consumer Reports recently released its 2016 sunscreen ratings (subscription required), which tested and ranked 70 lotion, spray, and face varieties. Surprisingly, many of its best sunscreen brands are quite inexpensive. This is especially true if you order through Walmart online, which has markedly better prices on most of these products than Amazon.
Here’s the quick roundup of lotions and sprays, plus a shocking finding from the study. All of these top-ranked sunscreens provide excellent protection from both UVA and UVB. (For more on the difference between these two UV rays, check out High-SPF Sunscreens: 2 Common Misconceptions Put Your Skin at Risk.)
While Consumer Reports’ highest-scoring sunscreen was pricey (La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Sunscreen Milk, $36 for 5 ounces), the next three were remarkably inexpensive. In order, they were:
SPF Ratings FAIL
Perhaps the most striking finding of the tests was the fact that nearly half of the tested sunscreens failed to meet their listed SPF ratings. Of the 60 sunscreens tested with a claimed SPF of 30 or greater, 28 did not meet the SPF number on the label. All the more reason to do your research and purchase a recommended and proven option.
It’s worth noting that all of the recommended sunscreens above contain oxybenzone, a widely used UV-blocking chemical that may have potential health risks. To find sunscreen options that do not contain oxybenzone, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide (2016 version coming soon) and its roundup of the best beach and sport sunscreens.
And remember, pale is the new tan!