Consumer Reports Sunscreen Test

FRESNO, Calif. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Top Sunscreens Tested by Consumer Reports:
1. Up & Up Sport Continuous (Target)
2. Walgreens Sport Continuous
3. Banana Boat Sport Performance Continuous
4. Aveeno Continuous Protection
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It may not feel like it, but summer is just around the corner. And with it comes the sun -- a lot of it. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., with more than a million cases diagnosed each year. But using sunscreen can prevent it.

MTV promotes its Jersey Shore cast as lean, mean tanning machines. The stars don't appear to be a big fan of sunscreens, and that's too bad.

"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 with 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 U.V. B rays and most against U.V. A rays. But the SPF number on labels only pertains to U.V. B 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 U.V. B rays or U.V. A rays.

"Many of the sunscreens claim to be water-resistant, so we tested for that as well," said Nicole Sarrubbo with Consumer Reports.

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.

Burt's Bees rated the worst. Consumer Reports says sunscreen should be applied a half-hour before going out in the sun. And you need to reapply it every two hours and after swimming.

A surprising separate study by the "Environmental Work Group" showed sunscreens with additives and derivatives like Vitamin A and Retinol may actually increase the speed at which malignant cancer cells develop and spread skin cancer.

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