Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Best Sunscreens?

I was reading the July issue of Consumer Reports called Shop Smart and I came to realize that many of my friends probably don’t read this magazine or know about it’s amazing benefits. Consumer Reports always promises to tell you the truth and they do their own tests by buying products we all buy and testing them in any of their 50 labs or at their 327-acre Auto Test Center. They also state that they don’t just test the products, they “work for change in the marketplace to protect you from dangerous products and unfair sales and advertising practices”. Their mission: “To help you make the best choice every time”. Now, I like how they are non-profit and don’t take ads or free samples and I also like that they do all their own testing and they have been around for quite some time. You can get a year subscription online for $30.00 and you can also buy the Magazine for about $27.00 or combine the both and its cheaper. I have always found their magazines helpful and informational. This specific magazine was all about the ways to shop smart, stay safe on Facebook, find freebies and the sun screens. I want to write this blog on the sunscreens first. It wasn’t a big article in the magazine, but the study tested 18 sunscreens and they picked 7 as their ‘Smart Picks’. They tested natural sunscreens such as Alba Botanical and Eco Organics to brand names such as Aveeno, Neutrogena, and Banana Boat. There were two categories, Best Sprays and Best Lotions and to make the ‘Smart Pick’ list the sunscreen had to protect against UVA and UVB, whether it stained or not, had to work well after testers applied and soaked in a tub, and how the sunscreen felt and smelled. All their picks stained as with most sunscreens, so use caution. Their best spray list was Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30, Coppertone Sport High Performance SPF 30, Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50, and Coppertone Oil Free Foaming SPF 75. There were three runner ups; Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist with Helioplex SPF 45, Coppertone Ultroguard Continuous Spray SPF 70 and Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Clear SPF 30. They were picked because they provided excellent UVA and UVB coverage and they kept working even after the tester soaked in the tub of water for 80 minutes and you can buy them for between $8 and $10 dollars. The best lotion picks were All Terrain Aquasport SPF 30, No-ad with Aloe and Vit E SPF 45, and Eco All Natural Sunscreen Body SPF 30. They liked these lotions because they also gave great UVA and UVB protection and met SPF claims after testers soaked for 80 minutes in water. Although they provided good protection, testers thought they smelled a bit like paint and it wasn’t easy to squeeze out of the tubes, but the later could be from already slippery hands from applying and they are more expensive, the Eco All Natural being $25 for a 5.3 oz tube. The runners up were Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50, La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40 with Mexoryl SX Spf 40 (never heard of this one) and Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Regular SPF 30. Also, you should probably not use sprays on children because of the possibility of inhalation and when you use them as an adult, try not to inhale the fumes. If you want more information on whether your current sunscreen provides the right coverage with minimal chemicals, you can always check www.ewg.org and see what your sunscreen rates. A 1 is great, a 10 is bad. When I search the sprays to see their numbers this is how they correspond; Banana Boat – 7, Coppertone – 5, Walgreens – 7, and Coppertone Oil Free – 7. As you can see, even though you will be covered well from UVA and UVB rays, there are a medium amount of chemicals you are putting on your body and some may be absorbing to get that protection. But, in contrast, if you are one who is not diligent about putting on your sunscreen every two hours of after each swim, then this should be a must for you as well as a cover-up ,hat and sunglasses. Lets see how the lotions stacked up; All Terrain Aquasport SPF 30 – 2, No-ad Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45 – Couldn’t find, and Eco All Natural – couldn’t find that one either. Ive always heard lotions were better for use because they have to be rubbed in whereas people may believe sprays don’t need to be rubbed in, but they do, especially if you want to right coverage. In the end, if you like a more natural sunscreen with less chemicals, play around with the website and choose one that is right for you and remember you will have to apply more often. If you are not as diligent, then I would go with one of the sprays listed above. Did you know that sunscreen containers are changing the way they advertise because of new regulations brought about by the FDA? Sunscreens can no longer claim they are a sunblock, waterproof, or sweatproof. The companies can still use water resistant, but they have to also state how long the sunscreen will be effective, either for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. They also will not claim that they are All-day or provide instant protection (all sunscreen should be applied deliberately before heading out in the sun). If the company want to claim ‘broad spectrum’ they have to prove it to the FDA before throwing that label on and sunscreens will only go as high as SPF 50 because above that, there is not enough evidence that shows that a higher SPF protects more. The sun has become no joking matter. When you get a tan, you are killing your skin cells and causing free radical damage, premature aging and an increase in age spots and sunspots. You are increasing your chances of cancer and from what Ive read from a friend of mine who is a Melanoma Warrior who still travels to New York for tests. Read her blog and see if it changes the way you view your tan - http://adventurewithmelanoma.blogspot.com/