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Consumer Reports: Cheaper Sunscreen Works Better

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With summer just around the corner, it’s time to stock up on sunscreen.

If you’re thinking high-end, turns out bargain brands do the best.

“There is absolutely no need to be spending $50 or $60 or $70 on sunscreen that has a long fancy French name and probably smells more enticing, but probably doesn’t work any better,” remarks Dr. Robin Gehris, a dermatologist with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Consumer Reports tested 22 lotions, creams and sprays. They were analyzed for protection against damaging ultraviolet radiation, water resistance and feel on the skin.

“Teenage boys don’t like anything that takes like more than five seconds to put on, so in my experience, they generally request sprays,” says Dr. Gehris. “Parents of very small children, infants, or toddlers under the age of one might prefer one of the sticks.”

The winner is Target’s Up and Up Sport Continuous SPF 30 at 88 cents an ounce. Runners-up include Banana Boat, Coppertone and CVS.

Some brands were criticized for washing off, staining, smelling like plastic and feeling thick on the skin.

The report also mentions product components some groups claim can affect sexual development (oxybenzone) or convert to the active ingredient in acne medicine (retinyl palmitate). But dermatologists say that on the skin these are harmless and can actually be good for the skin

“Does something placed on the skin equal something that’s ingested in high quantities in the body?” Dr. Gehris asks to make a point. “There’s absolutely no question that for these ingredients, I would not be concerned about putting them on the skin.”

The report doesn’t distinguish between sunscreens that chemically interact with the skin, versus those that just lay on top of the skin. For people who might be sensitive, the latter may be better, the kind containing titanium or zinc oxide.

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