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Consumer Reports Tests Sunscreens, 18 Of 20 Below SPF Promise

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(Source: KDKA-TV) Susan Koeppen
A nationally known, award-winning journalist, Susan Koeppen co-anc...
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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSPittsburgh.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSPittsburgh.com/Health

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Just in time for summer, Consumer Reports is out with their test of sunscreen.

When you shop for sunscreen, what do you look for?

A Consumer Reports survey finds half of us say what’s most important is the SPF rating, but lab tests reveal you can’t always rely on the number listed on the label.

Consumer Reports tested 20-sprays and lotions that claim to be water resistant and provide “broad spectrum” protection.

“Broad spectrum means they should protect against two types of ultraviolet rays: UVB which cause sunburn, and UVA rays which are linked to skin again. Both types contribute to cancer,” Jaime Kopf says.

Consumer Reports applied sunscreen to panelists’ backs, and had them soak in a tub for 80 minutes.

Then the panelists were exposed to UVA rays, or UVB, and the backs were examined a day later for color.

18 of the 20 sunscreens Consumer Reports tested came in below the SPF they promise on their packages, although except for two they did provide adequate protection.

Beyond Coastal Natural claimed an SPF of 30, but testers found its SPF was below 15.

Banana Boat Kids’ SPF was also below 15, though it claimed SPF 50.

The tests also found several of the sunscreens are less effective than others at protecting against UVA rays.

Consumer Reports did find seven sunscreens to recommend.

And it named two Best Buys.

They’re Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 from Walmart for $9-dollars, and the Spray Up & Up Sport SPF 50 from Target for $8-dollars.

Consumer Reports also recommends three more spray-on sunscreens.

  • Bullfrog Water Armor Sport Instacool SPF 50 plus.
  • Walgreen’s store brand sunscreen called “Well At Walgreens Sport SPF 50.”
  • Banana Boat Ultra Defense Max Skin Protect SPF 110


Two other lotion sunscreens are also recommended.

  • Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 and Neutrogena Ultimate Sport SPF 70-plus.


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