The best sunscreens to protect you and your family this year

Every year Consumer Reports tests sunscreens and publishes a ratings list. Most of us will be spending a lot of time outside this summer so knowing which sunscreen is best may keep you from getting a painful sunburn.

Whether at the beach or the pool we lather it on but you need to make sure what you are using works.

When Consumer Reports tested all of the sunscreens they used the same testing model the FDA requires sunscreen manufacturers to use. First of all, you want to use a broad spectrum sunscreen.

“That means that it protects against the rays that cause sunburn and aging and skin cancer,” said Trisha Calvo who is the Consumer Reports Deputy Health Director.

You want a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30.

“Sunscreens that are below spf 30 tend to not protect your skin as well,” said Calvo.

So what should you pick? If you want a lotion sunscreen the La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk takes the top spot and costs $36. A more affordable option is the BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50 which costs $13.

The two best spray sunscreens according to Consumer Reports are Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50 plus and it costs $6. Another option is the Banana Boat SunComfort Clear UltraMist Spray SPF 50+.

For the user who prefers a mineral or natural sunscreen the top two are California Kids #supersensitive Lotion SPF 30+ and the Badger Active Natural Mineral Cream SPF 30 Unscented. Both are under $20. 

Stores offer a large selection of sunscreens but don’t think that they are interchangeable just because the company name is the same as one of the Consumer Reports top rated products.

“You can’t extrapolate to the same brand or another SPF for example. It really does depend on the exact formulation of that sunscreen.

That doesn’t mean the sunscreen you’re buying is bad or won’t protect you. It’s just not the one Consumer Reports put at the top of the list.

Researchers also found people are not getting good coverage around their noses either. They recommend using traditional sunscreen instead of face moisturizers that contain SPF to give your skin the best protection.

You can read more from Consumer Reports here.