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Winter is in full swing and even though you're stuck shivering indoors, dreaming about warmer weather the sun is still beaming away outside. So whether you are going skiing or on a Carribbean get-away (or just going for a walk outdoors) — you might want to consider buying some new sunscreens.
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Back in July, Consumer Reports released their annual list of top sunscreens (we'll update this list as soon as we have the 2018 winners), with a few important reminders. The number on the bottle isn't always accurate: Of the 58 lotions, sprays and sticks rated by Consumer Reports this year, 20 of them tested at less than half of the SPF listed on their label. For example, one sunscreen they tested was labeled SPF 30, but the UVB protection it actually provided was between 10 and 19.
There were some winners, though. Here are their top five sunscreens:
- La Roche-Posay, Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk, $27
- Equate, Sport Lotion SPF 50, $12
- Pure, Sun Defense Disney Frozen Lotion SPF 50, $6
- Coppertone, WaterBabies Lotion SPF 50, $12
- Equate, Ultra Protection Lotion SPF 50, $10
If you can't find one of the products listed above, Consumer Reports recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40. It should also contain ingredients like avobenzone rather than "natural" ingredients.
Looking for a sunscreen you can spray? Trader Joe's Spray SPF 50+ received an excellent rating, along with Banana Boat SunComfort Clear UltraMist Spray and Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30. Though there are a few things to keep in mind when using a sunscreen spray.
"You have to hold the nozzle close to your skin, and don't spray the product into the wind. You often see parents running behind kids on the beach, spraying. That's not an effective way to apply sunscreen," Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City said, in the report.
You should also rub the sunscreen in after you spray it on — which some people don't do.
Regardless of what kind of sunscreen you choose, follow these steps to avoid getting burnt:
- Shake the bottle. This helps to distribute the ingredients throughout the bottle.
- Apply sunscreen BEFORE you go outside. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes before.
- Reapply every two hours. And whenever you get out of the water, no matter how much time has passed, or if an ingredient is water resistant.
Remember to apply sunscreen to often-forgotten parts of your body like your scalp, toes, ears and more. Wear a hat when you can!
For more information, check out the full story on Consumer Reports. This article was originally published on May 5, 2017.
For more Consumer Reports-approved products, check out our Consumer Reports list of the top mosquito and bug repellents.