Top 3 Sunscreens

A study finds the best sunscreens
for your skin and budget

With Memorial Day having come and gone, it means the start of summer featuring beach days, barbeques, and vacations. With all of the good times ahead, you'll need to take proper precautions as you look to get your golden-toned tan on. This is a list of the top sunscreens on the market today, tested by Consumer Reports, and done just in time to keep your skin safe all summer long.

The top pick is the La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60, which retails for a pricey $36.

The second pick is the Trader Joe's brand Spray SPF 50+ which costs an affordable $6.

Finally, the third choice is the Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50, which retails for $5.

It turns out that when it comes to sunscreen there's really no correlation between price and performance.

The sunscreens were examined for their ultraviolet B (UVB) protection, ultraviolet A (UVA) protection, and then how much that level varied from the SPF, or sun protection factor, that was listed on the packaging. Also factored in was the cost per ounce, the package size, and the price per package. The top rated sunscreens all have excellent UVA and UVB protection.

All of the SPF numbers listed on containers were not always a reliable indicator of the sunscreen's protection level and that almost a third of the sunscreens that they tested did not match the SPF numbers listed.

In total, 58 lotions, sprays, and sticks were tested and out of those sunscreens twenty of them registered in the tests at less than half of the SPF listed on the label.

Dr. Beth Jonas, a chief scientist at the Personal Care Products Council, a trade associated that represents the sunscreen industry told Consumer Reports that the council disagreed with the organization's findings. Jonas noted that Consumer Reports test methods are not the same as those required by the product manufacturers to assign the SPF designation. Consumer Reports has stated that they stand by their report.

Calvo said she recommends for consumers to read the ingredients in a sunscreen before purchasing it.

"We suggest looking for a chemical sunscreen such as one with avobenzone, that has at least an SPF of 40," Calvo said. "In our tests we found that that gives you the best chance of getting a product that actually delivers an SPF of at least 30."

She added that proper application is also very important when it comes to sun protection.

"We found that people wait an average of 3.36 hours before reapplying sunscreen," Calvo said of their surveys. "Sunscreen must be reapplied every 2 hours, no matter what the level of SPF you’re using ... you could be putting your skin at risk."