Consumer Reports recently issued its annual sunscreen rankings just as we’re starting to shop for sunscreen again. The consumer magazine ranked Coppertone Water Babies and Walmart’s Equate SPF 50 highest for lotions in terms of price and protection from UV rays; for sprays, Bull Frog WaterArmor Sport and Target’s Up & Up took the top rating.
While most of us wouldn’t think to head to the beach without any sunscreen, some of us get a little lazy about applying lotion when heading out to a ball game or bike ride. But a new research finding may provide a little extra motivation — especially for using sunscreen in kids heading off to camp for the day.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Channing Lab examined survey data from more than 100,000 nurses participating in the Harvard Nurses Health study and found that those who had at least five blistering sunburns when they were 15 to 20 years old had a 68 percent increased risk for common skin cancers like basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and an 80 percent increased risk of the deadlier melanoma by the time they reached middle age.
“Sudden large amounts of sun exposure that cause major damage to the skin increased the risk of melanoma as much as having a family history,” said study coauthor Dr. Abrar Qureshi, chair of dermatology at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School.
I asked Qureshi and Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability at the Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, to provide tips on buying and using sunscreen to maximize sun protection while minimizing certain safety concerns about these products.
1. Spray or lotion? Which is more protective?
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