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Sunscreens

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What's behind our sunscreen Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 40 models in sunscreens to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    This is based primarily on a combination of scores for UVA and SPF.
  • UVA
    The level of protection against UVA radiation.
  • SPF
    Level of protection against UVB radiation. Score based on the product's measured SPF.
  • Type
    Whether the product is dispensed as a spray, lotion, gel or foam.
  • Cost per oz.
    Approximate retail price divided by the number of ounces of product in the container.
  • Active ingredients
    Active ingredients as specified on the product label.
  • Tested SPF
    Whether the tested SPF met the product's claim. If tested SPF is lower than claim, average tested SPF is shown.

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Recommended sunscreens

Recommended sunscreens are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Ratings
In tests of water-resistant sunscreen lotions and sprays, we found many that provided very good or excellent protection against UVB radiation (which causes sunburn) after immersion in water, along with excellent protection against UVA radiation (which penetrates deeper than UVB rays, tanning and aging skin). If you're looking for information about sunscreens, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports' sunscreen reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our sunscreen buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and sunscreen reviews to help you choose the best sunscreen for your needs. Recommended products all have Very Good or Excellent SPF and Excellent UVA scores.

Sunscreen buying guide

Our tests of 34 body and six face sunscreens showed that you can't always rely on the sun protection factor (SPF) number, a measure of protection from ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, which causes sunburn and contributes to skin cancer. We also tested for protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which tan and age skin, and also contribute to skin cancer. We found 15 sunscreens that did well enough against both UVA and UVB to recommend.

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