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What Sunscreen Numbers Mean? Top Rated SPF products for this summer



The best sunscreens that can be used to protect the skin this summer have been named by Consumer Reports. The report rated 73 lotions, sprays and sticks in terms of efficacy and accuracy of SPF labeling.

SPF, or sun protection factor, refers to its ability to shield from the sun's ultraviolet rays. The SPF number is the protection level that provides sunscreen against the rays that are the major cause of sunburn and contributing to skin cancer. Generally, it takes about 10 to 20 minutes for a person's skin to burn if he or she does not use sunscreen.

The report included SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, with a recommendation to buy a SPF chemical sunscreen of 40 or higher

"We conduct our own scientific laboratory tests to identify performance differences and provide consumers with a comparative assessment "said Trisha Calvo, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Health and Nutrition Consumer Reports, to CBS News. "Every sunscreen is tested the same way in the lab ̵

1; and we use sunscreen that we buy off the shelves the way a consumer would."

The top 5 sunscreens are based on Consumer Reports La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sun Milk, Equate (Walmart) Sport Lotion SPF 50, BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50, Coppertone WaterBabies SPF 50 Lotion and Coppertone Ultra Guard SPF 70 Lotion

The report warned consumers about claims to sunscreens, including "sports," "dermatologist recommended" and "natural" or "mineral", which are not regulated by the FDA. No mineral sunscreens have created the consumer referral list this year.

An SPF 15 product would make the skin burn 15 times longer – about 150 to 300 minutes or about 2.5 to 5 hours. However, this does not mean that a person is fully protected for those five hours. Dermatologists strongly recommend applying sunscreen every two to four hours, as they may discolor or wash off when swimming or sweating.

For many, the numbers can be confusing. "SPF is not a consumer friendly number," said dermatologist James Spencer of Florida to WebMD. "It's logical for someone to think that an SPF of 30 is twice as good as an SPF of 15 and so on, but it does not work that way." [194559006]  Sunbathing One Woman is sunning herself on a beach in the city of Vina del Mar, 137 km (137 kilometers) northwest of Santiago, Chile, Dec. 28, 2006. Photo: REUTERS / Eliseo Fernandez [19659002] Below are five facts that many people who use sunscreens perceive less to the Environmental Working Group

1. There is no evidence that sunscreens prevent most skin cancer.

. 2 The common sunscreen vitamin A supplement can accelerate the development of skin cancer.

. 3 European sunscreens offer better UVA protection.

. 4 Sunscreen does not protect the skin from all types of sun damage.

. 5 Some sunscreen ingredients can cause skin allergies.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is reported that 5.4 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year and one in five develops skin cancer during their lifetime.


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