Consumer Reports Ranks Top Sunscreens for 2020

May 22, 2020 — Chemical sunscreens provide one of the best safety and beat out these with mineral or pure components equivalent to titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, a brand new review from Shopper Reviews finds.

On this yr’s annual ”Finest Sunscreens” record, specialists rated 53 merchandise in a number of classes. Along with chemical vs. mineral sunscreens, the report additionally offered a separate rating for chemical sunscreens with out oxybenzone.

In a 2016 research, scientists concluded that sunscreen with oxybenzone that washes off swimmers is threatening the well being of coral reefs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding sunscreen with oxybenzone for kids on account of considerations about delicate hormonal properties.

As in previous years, Shopper Reviews buys merchandise off the shelf. They check three samples, ideally with totally different lot numbers, for every of the three. They ship the merchandise to a lab to check for SPF and ultraviolet A (UVA) safety.

SPF, or solar safety issue, measures a sunscreen’s means to guard in opposition to sunburn, largely the results of UVB ray publicity. Testers apply a typical quantity of every sunscreen in a 2-inch by 3-inch rectangle on the backs of the panelists who check the merchandise. They soak in a bathtub of water, then get uncovered to UV mild from a solar simulator. A day later, testers examine their skin for redness and provides a ranking.

To check for UVA, Shopper Reviews makes use of a check just like the one required by the FDA for sunscreen makers who need to label their merchandise “broad-spectrum.”

5 merchandise obtained Shopper Reviews’s “Advisable” ranking.

Advisable Merchandise

The 5 really helpful merchandise embrace three lotions and two sprays. As previously, all are chemical sunscreens, and the 5 picks all have oxybenzone. “Whereas we acknowledge there are considerations with oxybenzone, we all know that sunscreen is a important a part of an general solar safety plan,” says Don Huber, director of product security, within the report. “It’s confirmed to forestall sunburn, and it will probably decrease your danger of skin cancer and scale back pores and skin growing older, and our testing is predicated on a product’s means to filter UV rays.”

  • Coppertone Extremely Guard Lotion SPF 70, $8
  • CVS Well being Extremely Safety Solar Lotion SPF 70, $9
  • Solimo (Amazon) Basic Safety Lotion SPF 50, $6
  • Dealer Joe’s Spray SPF 50+, $6
  • Neutrogena Seaside Protection Water + Solar Safety Spray SPF 70, $13

For individuals with considerations about oxybenzone, eight chemical sunscreens with out it obtained “Very Good” general scores. Amongst them:

  • Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Contact Extremely Radiance Lotion SPF 50, $8
  • Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Extremely Gentle Spray SPF 30, $12

The group additionally offered scores for merchandise that solely use mineral blockers titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, though it warns they don’t present nearly as good of safety as chemical sunscreens. “12 months after yr in our assessments, the sunscreens that comprise just one or each of those as energetic components don’t carry out in addition to those that comprise chemical energetic components,” the report says. “Some present ample SPF safety however not sufficient UVA safety, or vice versa.”

High mineral merchandise embrace:

  • California Youngsters #supersensitive Tinted Lotion SPF 30+, $24
  • Badger Lively Pure Mineral Cream SPF 30 Unscented, $14

Extra About Oxybenzone

The FDA requested sunscreen makers in February 2019 to supply further security knowledge on 12 frequent chemical energetic components in sunscreen, together with avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone, amongst others.

The company requested for this data as a result of analysis has proven that the chemical compounds can soak into the pores and skin and the bloodstream. The research confirmed it will probably occur after one utility and that the chemical compounds can stay within the physique for an prolonged time frame. The FDA says that the request doesn’t imply the components aren’t protected — they’re attempting to grasp the long-term impact of absorption and what ranges may be thought of protected, the FDA’s David Strauss, MD, PhD,  told Shopper Reviews.

Michael Dannenberg, MD, chair of dermatology at Northwell Well being’s Huntington Hospital in Huntington, NY, will get questions from his sufferers about oxybenzone sunscreens. He tells them that simply because the ingredient may very well be measured within the blood ”doesn’t suggest it is so much, it simply means a measurable quantity.”

“Persons are involved as a result of the FDA says they’re reviewing [the ingredients], however as I inform my sufferers, ‘That is the FDA’s job, they’re supposed to try this.”’ As for the environmental results, he says the proof that oxybenzone harms coral reef is ”nonetheless scant.” Hawaii and Key West, FL, have banned merchandise with the chemical.

“The chemical sunscreens are in all probability getting extra of a foul rap than they deserve,” he says. “And with mineral sunscreens, there’s a restrict to how excessive you may get the SPF earlier than you appear to be paste.”

A brand new report from the Environmental Working Group recommends customers keep away from sunscreens with oxybenzone due to an absence of security knowledge.

Relating to selecting sunscreen, Dannenberg advises choosing  a product with at the least an SPF of 30 and one thing that claims broad spectrum, which means it does block UVA as effectively.

Most individuals use too little sunscreen, he says. “It’s best to use 1 ounce of sunscreen over your complete physique.” And it is essential to reapply at the least each 2-Four hours or after swimming or sweating, in keeping with Dannenberg and Shopper Reviews.


Shopper Reviews: “Finest Sunscreens of 2020.” “Solar Security: Data for Dad and mom About Sunburn & Sunscreen.”

Nationwide Ocean Service: “Skincare Chemical compounds and Coral Reefs.”

Michael Dannenberg, MD, chair of dermatology, Northwell Well being’s Huntington Hospital, Huntington, NY.

Federal Register: “Sunscreen Drug Merchandise for Over-the-Counter Human Use.”

Smarter Journey: “6 Locations with Sunscreen Bans, and What You Must Know.”

Environmental Working Group: “The Hassle Wth Substances in Sunscreens.” 

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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