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Which sunscreens protect your skin the best?

May 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Suntans are one of the selling points of living Southern California. It may give the appearance of health, but doctors say what it takes to get this deep color is not healthy at all."There is no such thing as a safe tan. Ultraviolet B rays can damage the skin by causing sunburn. And Ultraviolet A rays can wrinkle the skin and can cause cancer," said Dr. John Santa, Consumer Reports.

Sunscreen is an important way to protect yourself. Consumer Reports tested a dozen sunscreens, including sprays, lotions, and a cream. All claim to protect against UVB rays and most against UVA rays. But the SPF number on labels only pertains to UVB rays.

Consumer Reports conducts tests to see how well sunscreens protect against both types of rays. At an independent lab, products are applied to people's backs. Then they're subjected to either UVB rays or UVA rays.

Some of the most expensive products weren't the best. But Consumer Reports found four sprays offered very good protection, even in water.

Up & Up from Target is the least expensive, with an SPF of 30 - which is sufficient for most people. But be aware, tests found almost all of the sunscreens stain fabrics, so you need to be sure to wash it off.

Dermatologists say that sunscreen needs to be applied 30 minutes before going out into the sun. It needs to re-applied every two hours and after swimming.


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