According to a Consumer Reports test that sized up 22 creams, sprays and lotions, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get an effective sunscreen. The sunscreens were put into three categories: SPF 30, SPF 40-50 and SPF 50 or more. The report noted cost per ounce and what form the sunscreen came in.
A few decades ago, nobody thought much about the dangers of the sun. Even parents in their 20s and 30s remember slathering on baby oil or balancing a reflector to tan their necks and chins.
Today, many of those folks are taking a very different approach with their children. A few of those parents were at Kershaw Park in Canandaigua, N.Y., during a recent hot spell.
The lake temperature was a comfortable 71 degrees on the afternoon of Thursday, June 9, when Amy Turner dried the sand and water off her children, Luna, 3, and Ruby, 1.
As she got them ready to leave, she displayed the one-piece outfits she had for the kids, made of light-weight cotton but able to fully cover their arms and legs.
“I used to be a sailing instructor,” Turner said. She spent hours in the sun. “Now I have kids.”
The publicity about the dangers of the sun and skin cancer have raised awareness, and that’s a good thing, said Krysten Glore of Canandaigua, N.Y., mother of Karter, 1, and Kian, 4.
“We do the sunscreen,” she said. “I am more aware now.”
She’s particularly aware of the dangers of children getting burned because experts say burns when you are young raise the risk of skin cancer later in life.
Using sunscreen is one way people are getting around enjoying the sun while also protecting themselves.
Glore said she wants her kids to get some sun, both for its feel-good benefits and for getting vitamin D.
When she buys sunscreen, “I try to look for the organic, natural ones,” she said.
According to a Consumer Reports test that sized up 22 creams, sprays and lotions, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get an effective sunscreen.
The sunscreens were put into three categories: SPF 30, SPF 40-50 and SPF 50 or more. The report noted cost per ounce and what form the sunscreen came in. The products were ranked according to how effectively they guarded against UVB rays (rays that cause sunburn) and UVA rays (rays that go deeper into the skin and cause tanning and aging). They also looked at how well that UV protection held up after the sunscreen was applied to volunteers’ backs and submerged in water for 80 minutes.
The findings: It didn’t seem to matter how expensive the sunscreen was, what form it was in or how high the SPF was, as long as it was more than 30.
The magazine’s testers found that nine of the 22 sunscreens surveyed provided excellent protection against UVB rays and very good protection against UVA rays.
The top-scoring sunscreen, SPF 45 No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E, earned an overall 89 points out of 100; it was also the cheapest, at just 59 cents an ounce. Compare that with SPF 40 La Roche-Posay Anthelios, which cost $18.82 an ounce, but whose score was 10 points below No-Ad.
Politicos weigh in
Last month, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced a new effort to put pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to finally issue comprehensive regulations for the sunscreen industry. They want regulation of formulation and labeling as well as testing requirements for over-the-counter sunscreen products, “to protect consumers from dangerous ingredients and inaccurate labels,” said a release.
They reported 1 million more Americans are expected to be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. Schumer and Gillibrand said that the FDA has been dragging its feet to issue rules that would require sunscreen companies to provide clear and accurate sunscreen labels.
The legislation the senators introduced would give the FDA 180 days to finalize its regulations — originally proposed in 2007, and supposed to be finalized by October 2010 — or have its already proposed rules go into effect. Schumer and Gillibrand joined colleagues in sending a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jacob Lew, urging them to finalize the FDA’s proposed comprehensive standards for sunscreen products.
This summer, people will rely on sunscreen to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays.
“But sadly, far too often, sun-lovers are being misled by inaccurate sunscreen labels that promise protection but really leave them at risk of skin cancer,” said Schumer.