Consumer Reports Ranks Top Sunscreens for 2021

April 23, 2021 – A $ 4 sunscreen from Walmart performed well enough to be recommended and called a ‘best buy’ in this year’s sunscreen ratings by Consumer reports, which have just been published. This is Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50, a Walmart brand.

Also, two sunscreen sprays made the recommended list: Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Spray SPF 30 ($ 9) and Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50 ($ 11). The full rankings report is published on the Consumer reports website for members.

Pandemic challenges

“Social distancing over the past year has made it harder to test sun protection,” says Trisha Calvo, deputy editor of the health and nutrition section at Consumer reports and editor of the report.

The team performs tests in the lab and on real people, Calvo says. For testing on people, participants sit in a water bath for 40 to 80 minutes, depending on the product’s water resistance claim. They come back the next day so their skin can be examined for redness to determine SPF protection.

The SPF, or sun protection factor, measures how well a sunscreen protects against sunburn, which is primarily the result of exposure to UVB rays. Products labeled “broad spectrum” protect both against UVA, linked to skin aging, and against UVB. Consumer reports tests products for their UVA and UVB protection.

This year, five fewer products were tested than last year’s list of 53. Calvo says they hope to add more products in the next few months.

“We still haven’t been able to find a mineral-based sunscreen that performs well enough to be recommended,” she says, citing some consumer concerns about chemical sunscreens, which contain ingredients such as oxybenzone. and avobenzone, among others. The chemicals have been found to penetrate the skin and the bloodstream. The FDA is trying to understand the long-term effects of this absorption. He says absorption does not equate to risk and you should continue to use sunscreen.

While some are concerned about chemical sunscreens, Calvo says the risks of skin damage and skin cancer from the sun are far greater than the risk of chemicals in sunscreens.

“We had two mineral sunscreens that got a good rating,” she says. They’re not at the top of the list, but she considers them acceptable for those trying to avoid chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens use ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that act as physical barriers against the sun’s rays.

They are:

  • Badger Active Natural Mineral Cream SPF 30 ($ 18)
  • California Kids #supersensitive Teinted Lotion SPF 30-plus ($ 20)

More better performers

Of other products to consider, Calvo says:

  • Kiehl’s Activated Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 ($ 32)
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 70 Face Lotion ($ 13)
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Lotion Spray SPF 60 ($ 25)

Protect children

“Ideally, we recommend that you don’t use sprays on children,” Calvo says. Children are more likely to inhale the sprays. But she knows parents may prefer sprays for convenience. If using aerosol sunscreen on children, parents should ideally spray it on their hands and then rub it on their child’s skin. Or at least, parents could ask their child to close their mouth and eyes and look away when they spray it.

Never spray sunscreen on your face, she tells adults and children.

The dermatologist weighs

Michele S. Green, MD, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, reviewed the ranking. “It’s surprising that there are more sprays than recommended lotions,” she says. According to her, “Spray sunscreens tend to be less effective, which means the skin is more likely to be damaged by UV rays from the sun. This means there is a higher risk of sun damage. and the potential development of skin cancer. “

She emphasizes that it is essential to put on spray and lotion sunscreens correctly. She recommends an ounce of sunscreen applied to exposed skin for adults. With sprays, she says, it can be difficult to know how much has been applied.

When choosing a children’s sunscreen, she suggests finding one that is water resistant and has broad spectrum coverage with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Sunscreen Plus

Calvo reminds consumers to consider sunscreens as one step in sun protection. She urges people to wear hats and cover up in the sun.

“No sunscreen blocks all of the sun’s rays,” she says.

WebMD Health News


Consumer reports: “Best sunscreens of 2021”.

Trisha Calvo, Associate Editor-in-Chief of Health and Food, Consumer reports; editor, sun protection report.

Michele Green, MD, dermatologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York.

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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