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The number one skin care mistake we all make is our ability to “forget” to use sunscreen. I preach it a lot, so long time readers know this, but just in case you missed the message: you should always be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 50. But you can’t just use any ol’ sunscreen—each skin type may react to ingredients in sunscreen differently. And it’s also important to pay close attention to the ingredient list in sunscreens. Believe it or not, sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug so what is in them is quite important. Another misconception about sunscreen seems to be that some people need it more than others. That’s simply not true. Everyone needs sunscreen.

The Skinny on Sunscreen

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Technically, both sunscreens have chemicals in them but, in this case, a chemical sunscreen blocks UV rays via a chemical reaction on the skin while a physical sunscreen blocks UV rays via scattering and reflecting away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens have recently made big waves in the news as Hawaii became the first state to ban the sale of chemical sunscreens as the ingredients are harmful to marine life (don’t worry, these ingredients are perfectly fine for humans). It’s also important to note that no sunscreen blocks 100% of UVA/UVB rays. An SPF 50 blocks 98% of harmful UV rays.

Top Rated Sunscreens for Summer 2018

Consumer Reports recently released their annual Sunscreen Buying Guide. They tested over 73 sunscreens and 32% of them didn’t quite live up to their protection claims.  Here are the top 5 according to Consumer Reports:

  1. La Roche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 ($20)—With a perfect score of 100 for a second year in a row, this sunscreen once again is the darling of the Consumer Reports list.
  2. Equate Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 ($5)—Coming in with a score of 99, this easy drugstore find sunscreen is efficient for your skin health and your wallet.
  3. Bull Frog Quik Gel Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($9)—If you’re planning to be in a super hot climate, this gel-based sunscreen is a winner. Consumer reports gave it a score of 95.
  4. Coppertone Water Babies ($7)—Also with a score of 95, this tried and true favorite is perfect for those with sensitive skin types.
  5. Coppertone Ultra Guard 70 ($7)—If you are headed out to the beach or simply plan on relaxing by a pool, this should be your go-to. With a score of 94, this sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.