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Are You Really Protected From the Sun?

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By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Consumer Reports finds that many sunscreens aren’t doing much screening at all.

Wednesday was National Sunscreen Day, and while popular sunscreen brands like Supergoop were celebrating with soirees in the city and other similar events, Consumer Reports was casting a cloud on the industry with their most recent report. According to their article, “The Best Sun Protection,” many respected sunscreen brands fall short of their SPF claims.

Over a four-year period, Consumer Reports tested and rated more than 60 sunscreens, sprays, and sticks labeled as 30 SPF or higher. They found that 43% didn’t meet their claim to have an SPF of 30, and half failed to meet the SPF labeled on its bottle. Even more shocking, three sunscreens contained an SPF less than 15. With the minimum amount of SPF recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology being 30, it’s unsettling to know that we might be unwittingly exposing ourselves to harmful UV rays. In fact, sunscreens labeled as “natural” (or mineral-based sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) could be the most dangerous, as they were found to be the biggest offenders when it came to false SPF claims.

With summer right around the corner, it’s good to know that certain sunscreens do hold up to their SPF labels, especially when it comes to chemical sunscreen with an SPF of 40 or more. Among Consumer Reports 17 top rated sunscreens are Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+, Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection SPF 70, Le Roche-Posey Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk, and Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 50.

What’s a better way to honor National Sunscreen Day than by stocking up on some tried and tested sunscreen? Below, shop some of the best names in the sun protection industry.

Clarins

Clarins | Sunscreen For Face Wrinkle Control Cream SPF 50+

• High protection for the face that protects skin from the appearance of wrinkles and sun-induced age spots.
• This lightweight comfortable cream ensures an even, long-lasting tan.

Key Ingredients:

– Multi-Cellular Protection – Protects skin with a multi-filter complex that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
– Phyto-Sunactyl 2 – A combination of 5 plant extracts (senna, pea, plane tree, olive and baobab) help skin to resist the sun’s aggressions.

Kiehl's

Kiehl’s Since 1851 | Activated Sun Protector for Face & Body Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Ultra lightweight SPF 50 sunscreen for face and body in a non-greasy, non-pore clogging formulation that is safe enough for the entire family. Formulated for sensitive skin, this 100% mineral formula provides uniform broad spectrum protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Hampton Sun

Hampton Sun | SPF 70 For Kids Continuous Mist Sunscreen

Hampton Sun’s SPF 70 for Kids offers powerful, broad-spectrum sun protection for the whole family. This hypoallergenic and oil-free formula can be applied to wet skin so no need to towel off or wait for skin to dry. A convenient travel twist cap helps avoid accidental spills and sprays.

Lab Series

Lab Series Skincare For Men | Power Protector SPF 50

Lightweight, high performance environmental protection helps visibly brighten and prevent skin discolorations for a younger, healthier appearance. Visibly evens skin tone and texture.

Natura Bisse

Natura Bisse | Diamond White Oil Free Brilliant Protection SPF 50 PA+++

This soothing cream restores and effectively protects the skin from damaging UVA/UVB rays. Able to prevent premature aging, also formulated with de-pigmenting agents such as Ellagic Acid, a component of Pomegranate extract, this powerfully protective cream interferes with the formation of melanin, visibly correcting dark spots on the skin.

Shiseido

Shiseido | Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion SPF 38, 3.4 oz.

A highly nourishing cream-formula sunscreen for the face with Broad Spectrum protection that defends against powerful UVA/UVB rays, which cause sunburn, cell damage, dryness, roughness and premature signs of aging such as fine lines. Smooths on easily and maintains vital moisture with no feeling of heaviness.

Laura Mercier

Laura Mercier | Daily Face Shield with SPF 40

This weightless oil-free sunscreen goes on sheer, with no oily residue, to help shield skin from damaging sun rays and seasonal changes. Daily Face Shield SPF 40 helps to create an invisible shield against damaging UVA and UVB rays, preventing visible signs of aging. This daily sunscreen is formulated with Adaptogen technology which may help the skin adapt to seasonal changes.