Consumer Reports: Sunscreen test

FRESNO, Calif.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one-million new cases were diagnosed last year alone. So unless you want to be completely covered up this summer, slap on that sun block.

There's nothing quite like walking on the beach on a beautiful day. But you don't want to head there without a good sunscreen. Consumer reports tested 22 sprays, creams, and lotions, including ones from Banana Boat and Coppertone.

One of the things testers looked at was whether the product protected against UVB radiation. That's what causes sunburn and what the SPF number refers to. Another potential danger from the sun is UVA radiation, which can cause cancer and also ages skin, penetrating even deeper than UVB rays.

"The testers also evaluated how well the sunscreens block UVA radiation. There's still no standardized labeling system, so most just say they've got UVA protection," said Ginger Skinner with Consumer Reports.

To test, sunscreens are applied to people's backs at an outside lab. Then they're subjected to either UVA rays or UVB rays. And since swimming in the water can wear off sunscreen, Consumer Reports tests for water resistance as well.

"We did find a number of sunscreens that provided excellent protection against UVB rays and very good protection against UVA radiation."

Two at a good price: Up & Up Sport -- a spray from target with SPF 30, and Equate Baby Lotion from Walmart, with an SPF of 50.

When you're at the beach, remember to reapply sunscreen right after swimming or about every two hours.

Consumer Reports says it's best to apply sunscreen about half an hour before you head outside. Choose a sunscreen that is water resistant with an SPF of at least 30. Above 30, there's not much more protection. Even when using sunscreen, it's a good idea to limit the time you spend in the sun, especially in the middle of the day.

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