Clark Howard: Sunscreen needn’t cost a lot

You want a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” on the label. CONTRIBUTED
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You want a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” on the label. CONTRIBUTED

Summer is almost here. You don’t want to forget the sunscreen when you’re outdoors this season.

Consumer Reports has ranked sunscreens and found that you don’t have to pay big bucks to protect your skin from harsh UV rays.

Here’s what so funny: One of the highest rated sunscreens that got a Best Buy recommendation turned out to be the cheapest one they tested.

When it comes to lotions, Consumer Reports says you may want to have a look at Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50.

This Walmart store brand lotion was deemed a best buy with a score of 94 out of 100.

It costs only 49 cents an ounce — the cheapest unit price of any lotion tested.

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3 percent), Homosalate (13 percent), Octisalate (5 percent), Octocrylene (7 percent) and Oxybenzone (4 percent).

Meanwhile, two other sunblocks scored higher in the lotion category and were also recommended as best buys. They are Pure Sun Defense Disney Frozen SPF 50 and Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50. Both the Pure Sun Defense Disney Frozen and Coppertone Water Babies scored a 98 out of 100.

Pure Sun Defense costs 79 cents an ounce, while the Coppertone costs $1.31 an ounce. Yet both have the exact same active ingredient composition in the exact same ratios as the Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50.

In the world of spray-on sunscreen, Consumer Reports loves Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+. This offering scored a perfect 100 on the Consumer Reports annual tally.

At $1 an ounce, it might be worth a look. Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3 percent), Homosalate (15 percent), Octisalate (5 percent) and Oxybenzone (6 percent).

Yet there was a cheaper option you may also want to consider: Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30.

At 83 cents an ounce, Walmart strikes again with a store brand that scored an 84 out of 100. Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3 percent), Homosalate (10 percent), Octisalate (5 percent), Octocrylene (2 percent) and Oxybenzone (4 percent).

So clearly, it’s possible to get all the protection from the sun’s harmful rays you need and not break the bank.

Just be sure that whatever sunscreen you get says “broad spectrum” on the label for maximum protection. That will ensure that it protects against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.

Consumer Reports says UVB is the biggest culprit when it comes to sunburn, and it also plays a role in skin cancer. UVA, meanwhile, is responsible for tanning and aging skin, in addition to contributing to skin cancer.


Visit ClarkHoward.com for more info, or get his best-selling books signed with free shipping at GetClarkSmart.com.

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