In case you haven’t noticed, we’re big on sun protection at Allure. Aside from making sure your beach vacation stays free of painful sunburns, sunscreen also helps ward off exposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays, which are not friends to skin, as they can cause skin cancer and promote the formation of fine lines.
Luckily, there are tons of science-backed resources to help you do this — chief among them the advocacy group at Consumer Reports, which for the seventh year running has released a formal report of the best sunscreens for 2020.
The organization looked at four types of sunscreens, including lotions, sprays, mineral, and those without the chemical oxybenzone. It evaluated each on two main measures: First, the accuracy of the SPF claim, which measures how long you’d be protected against the UVB rays that cause burns and, second, the effectiveness of the UVA blockers, which shield you from the rays that can age you. The former test is done by smearing sunscreen on a participant’s back, having them soak in water, then exposing them to six intensities of UVB light from a sun simulator. An expert then evaluates the redness. The UVA test involves globbing paper plates with sunscreen, blasting them with UVA and UVB light, and measuring how much is absorbed.
After all that testing, Consumer Reports ranked each sunscreen with a rating between 0 and 100 — formulas that scored 81 or higher and received Excellent or Very Good scores for UVA and UVB protection, got the agency’s stamp of approval. Based on those scores, here are the top sunscreens you can feel good about reaching for this summer.
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Like last year, lotion formulas scored the highest marks. The takeaway? Slathering is still the best way to go to stay worry-free in the sun.
Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70 Sunscreen
This broad-spectrum drugstore formula nourishes the skin with vitamin E while protecting against both UVA and UVB rays. It also blends in seamlessly with no white cast and never feels greasy.