The EPA has issued a UV Alert for Venice. Today’s UV index forecast is an 11 (the highest), which is considered “extreme”. The EPA recommends “if you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade. Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.”
Here is what Consumer Reports has to say about choosing a sunscreen (their brand recommendations are at the end of the post):
Choose the wrong sunscreen and you or your kids could get burned. Ultraviolet radiation may promote skin cancer in two ways: by damaging the DNA in skin cells and by weakening the body’s natural defenses against cancer cells.
Tested sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) of between 30 and 75+. Most claim “broad spectrum” protection against both ultraviolet A radiation, which tans and ages skin, and UVB radiation, which causes sunburn. All things being equal, if you get a sunburn after 20 minutes without sunscreen, an SPF 30 product would protect you for about 10 hours (20 minutes x 30). But in reality, other factors come into play, such as sun intensity, geographic location, skin type, and whether you’ve been sweating or swimming,so SPF is simply a relative measure of protection.
How we tested
We tested the sunscreens on people–before and after immersion in fresh water for up to 80 minutes–and on clear plastic plates for a new test mandated by the Food and Drug Administration requiring that products claiming broad-spectrum protection have a minimum “critical wavelength.” We also checked whether each product stained cotton, polyester, rayon/spandex, and nylon/spandex.
To stay safe in the sun, wear a hat and protective clothing. When using any sunscreen:
Check ingredients. Oxybenzone may interfere with hormones in the body, and nanoscale zinc and titanium oxides have been linked to potential reproductive and developmental effects. In skin, retinyl palmitate converts readily to retinoids, associated with a risk of birth defects in people using retinoid-containing acne medications. Pregnant women may want to avoid products with retinyl palmitate, noted in the Ratings.
Spray carefully. The FDA has said it is exploring the risks of inhaling spray sunscreens. Avoid using sprays on children, and spray sunscreen onto your hands to apply it to your face.
Use enough. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of lotion on most of your body, or spray as much as can be rubbed in, then repeat. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
Any sunscreen you use should be water resistant, with an SPF of at least 30. Above 30, you get little extra protection. See our story on getting the best sunscreen for babies and kids for more information about choosing products for them and how to apply sunscreen properly.
Three sunscreens were given the Consumer Reports “Best Buy” rating:
- Up & Up Sport SPF 30
- No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45
- Equate Baby SPF 50
Six others were recommended:
- Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30
- Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30
- CVS Fast Cover Sport SPF 30
- Walgreens Sport SPF 50
- Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50
- Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 100
Other products evaluated include: Soleo Organics All Natural SPF 30+, Badger SPF 30, Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport SPF 30, Avon Skin-So Soft Bug Guard plus IR3535 SPF 30, All Terrain AquaSport performance SPF 30, Burt’s Bees Chemical-Free SPF 30, Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50, Bull Frog Marathon Mist with UV Extender SPF 50, LaRoche-Posay Anthelios SPF 40, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist SPF 45, Aveeno Continuous Protection SPF 85, Coppertone UltraGuard SPF 70+, and Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 60+.
Despite not making the cut for ”recommended” or ”best buy,” none of these got a poor rating on UVA or UVB protection or UVB protection after water immersion.
You can read Consumer Reports recommendations by clicking here!