Choosing the best sunscreen

By: Megan Lowry Email
By: Megan Lowry Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis It's a staple in our beach bag for the summer but a new consumer report warns not all sunscreens protect you as well as the label says.

Researchers from 'consumer reports' tested 20 brands of sunscreen and found many didn't provide the amount of protection listed on the bottle.

Topping the list of sunscreens:
• Banana Boat Ultra Defense Max Skin Protect
• Bull Frog Water Armor Sport Instacool
• Neutrogena Ultimate Sport
• Well at Walgreens Sport
• Coppertone Water Babies

The best-buy:
• Target's Up and Up
• Walmart's Equate Ultra Protection

The lowest rated products:
• Banana Boat Kids
• Beyond Coastal Natural
• Up & Up Kids
• Alba Botanic Very Emollient Sport
• Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist

But dermatologists say which ever sunscreen you choose remember to apply it and reapply

"You want to think about how you want your skin to look years from now," said Marshfield Clinic Dermatologist Larry Scherrer. He adds "if you spent 10 minutes a day in the sun for 10 years that’s 600 hours of sun. So if you think about that little bit of time that you spend outside walking to your car or having lunch outside enjoying the sun that equals a lot of damage. "

Scherrer says the best thing you can do to protect your skin from damage is get in the habit of putting on sunscreen or a moisturizer with sunscreen every day, rain or shine.

"That will make a big difference in the long run," said Scherrer.

And with dozens of types and brands of sunscreen out there, Scherrer says there is one phrase you should pay close attention to; Broad-spectrum.

"If you see broad-spectrum on the label that means the sunscreen block both UVA and UVB. UVB is the burning rays of the sun and UVA is best thought of as the aging rays of the Sun." said Sherrer.

When it comes to SPF, Sherrer says a good rule of thumb is to choose an SPF 50 or greater.

"Essentially everyone under applies sunscreen and you get better protection from when you under apply a SPF 50 or 70 than when you under apply a SPF 30 or 15.

By definition SPF stands for the amount of time you can be in the sun after the time it would take unprotected skin to burn. But it's important to remember everyone has different skin.

"You need to know your skin," said Sherrer.

Sherrer says the recommended amounts of sunscreen is a teaspoon per arm and double that for your back and chest.
He also says if like to use sprays try using a lotion first and use the spray to reapply.

He says kids' sunscreens are no different than adult sunscreen. The whole family should be using SPF 50 plus. Sherrer says infants are the most susceptible to sun damage. He recommends parents keep them shaded more often than not.


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