Cheaper brand name sunscreens protect better than expensive brands

Safety First - The Cooper Firm

Is name brand sunscreen really better?

Most people would consider the most expensive sunblock to be better at blocking UVA and UVB rays, but Consumer Reports annual sun survey showed quite the opposite. They tested 12 sunscreen lotions and sprays to measure their effectiveness in sun protection. Out of the 12, six rated “very good” overall. Three of the top performers came from national chain brands. Target Up and UP Sports SPF 50 scored the highest overall with Walmart Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 coming in at number 2. Walgreens was not far behind with its Continuous Spray Sports SPF 50 at number 4. Coppertone Water Babies 50 lotion took third place. All of the brands that were rated “very good” all cost $1.67 or less per ounce.

Some of the lotions or sprays that were more expensive did not protect as well against UVB rays. All Terrain AquaSport SPF 30 which is $4.33 an ounce only got a “fair” rating from protecting from UVA rays which penetrate deeper and are more dangerous than UVB rays.

The most expensive of all the lotions, California Baby SPF 30+ which cost $6.90 per ounce only scored a “good” rating for UVA protection and “poor” rating for staining fabrics.

Consumer Reports shared that the rankings may have changed a great deal because the Food and Drug Administration labeling requirements changed for sunscreens. They now require that the lotions or sprays protect against UVB and UVA rays. This means that the companies may have slightly changed their formulas.

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It is very important to wear sunscreen. We cannot stress enough that you should wear it any time you are exposed to sun. Make sure that if you cannot find some of the top recommended brands, that you wear something water resistant with at least 40 SPF protection and apply every two hours.

Source: ABC News, “Cheaper, Store-Brand Sunscreens Protect Better Than Costly Counterparts,” Abby Ellin, May 23, 2013.

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