When it comes to picking out a sunscreen for a beach day, there are so many choices out there that it can sometimes be super-overwhelming. And while many factors come together in order to determine what constitutes a “good sunscreen,” there are some ways to narrow down the selection.
As noted by Byrdie, Consumer Reports recently released their annual sunscreen guide, where they tested over 70 products for effective protection against UVA and UVB rays. According to their findings, only one product came away with a perfect score (for the fourth year in a row, making it a serious winner). The lucky victor? La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk, which costs $35.99 for a 150ml tube. The sunscreen, which boasts an SPF of 60 and a non-greasy, water-resistant texture, contains avobenzone, and Consumer Reports determined that this ingredient was most helpful at combatting harmful rays from the sun.
In addition to their top product, Consumer Reports released another important tidbit that you might want to keep in mind next time you’re shopping at the drugstore. According to their findings, 24 of the sunscreens they tested actually seemed to be working at less than half of the SPF number on the label. As their report noted, “That doesn’t mean the products aren’t protective at all, but you may not be getting the degree of protection you think you are.” It’s also worth remembering that the American Academy of Dermatology recommends always using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, no matter what.
Other crucial tips from their study? Always shake your sunscreen before using it (the motion reportedly helps distribute the active ingredients), apply the product on at least 15-30 minutes before going outside, and think twice before using a spray sunscreen instead of a lotion. But the most important takeaway of all? Just don’t forget to wear your sunscreen — period.