Whether you're relaxing on the beach or enjoying the waves, it's critically important to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun. Consumer Reports has tested 18 sunscreens - mostly sprays and lotions -from names like Banana Boat and Coppertone to Neutrogena and Aveeno. Nicole Sarrubbo, "We test to see how well the sunscreens protect against two types of radiation- UVB, which causes sunburn, and UVA, which penetrates deeper, resulting in tanning and aging of the skin."
Both types contribute to skin cancer, so it's important to use a sunscreen that protects against both. To test, Consumer Reports applies sunscreen to panelists' backs, then exposes them to either UVA or UVB rays. Testers also check water resistance. Panelists sit in water for up to 80 minutes, depending on the product's claims. Nicole Sarrubbo, "We also performed a new critical wavelength test mandated by a FDA that determines if the sunscreen offers a sufficient level of UVA protection." Two products that claim both UVA and UVB protection failed this test - Banana Boat Kids and Alba Botanica. But for fun in the sun without the worry Consumer Reports did find two very good, inexpensive sunscreens-No-Ad SPF 45 and Walgreen's Continuous Spray Sunscreen Sport SPF 50. Both rated very good against UVA and excellent against UVB radiation, making them great options for your next day at the beach. ."