Nearly half of tested sunscreens fail to meet promised protectio - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Nearly half of tested sunscreens fail to meet promised protection

Consumer Reports has released sunscreen ratings, which show 43 percent of sunscreens tested do not live up to their SPF promise. (Source: NBC) Consumer Reports has released sunscreen ratings, which show 43 percent of sunscreens tested do not live up to their SPF promise. (Source: NBC)
(NBC NEWS/KPLC) -

Walk by any sunscreen aisle and the options seem endless: SPF 12, 30, 50...spray, lotion, waterproof, sport.  So what do you really need to look for and how can you be sure you are getting the best protection?  A new analysis of sunscreens is finding many do not work as well as promised.

It is the final full week of school for students in Southwest Louisiana, triggering the start of summer season and lots of outdoor activities.  Before you spend time in the sun, a new analysis of 65 sunscreens by Consumer Reports finds some may not work as well as we hoped.

"43 percent of the sunscreens that we tested this year did not meet their SPF claims in our tests," said Trisha Calvo with Consumer Reports.

This week's Consumer Reports results show of the 65 water-resistant sunscreens claiming an SPF of at least 30, close to half of them did not measure up.  The report says Banana Boat Kids and CVS Kids showed an SPF of 8 even though they were listed at 50. 

The good news, some sunscreens do live up to their SPF claims.

The best-rated lotions under $15 are: 

Pure Sun Defense SPF 50 ($6.30)
Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 ($10.50)  
Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 ($7.85).

If you prefer spray, here are the top performers under $15:

Trader Joe's Spray SPF 50+ ($6)
Banana Boat SunComfort Continuous Spray SPF 50+ ($10)  
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection SPF 70 ($10.50)

The American Academy of Dermatology says that sunscreen with an SPF of 30 blocks 90 percent of the sun's rays, protecting you from cancer, but you must apply it as thick as you can and often.

"We know that sunscreens can underprotect, but the real reason sunscreens underprotect is that people just under apply them," said Dr. Darrell Rigel with the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dermatologists say think of sun protection using the acronym WAR: Wear protective clothing, Avoid the harsh midday sun, and Regularly reapply sunscreen.

In the future, Consumer Reports hopes the Food and Drug Administration will review its sunscreen requirements. They currently only require manufacturers to test their own products, and don't routinely conduct their own tests.

Click here to read the full list of sunscreen ratings by Consumer Reports.

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