June 14, 2011 -- After testing 22 spray-on, cream and lotion sunscreens, Consumer Reports gave top honors to the least-expensive products.
The magazine recognized three "Best Buys" that provided excellent water-resistant protection for less than 88 cents per ounce: Up & Up Sport SPF 30 by Target; No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45; and Equate Baby SPF 50. Compare that to La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 40, which ranked lower despite its $18.82 per ounce price tag.
The magazine's top picks are:
Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30 ($1.60 per ounce)
Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30 ($1.67 per ounce)
CVS Fast Cover Sport SPF 30 ($1.33 per ounce)
Up & Up Sport SPF 30 (Target) ($0.88 per ounce)
SPF 40 to 50
No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45 ($0.59 per ounce)
Equate Baby SPF 50 0.63 lotion ($0.63 per ounce)
Walgreens Sport SPF 50 1.33 spray ($1.33 per ounce)
Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50 ($1.33 per ounce)
Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 100 ($2.25 per ounce)
The magazine also tested how the sunscreens felt, smelled, rubbed in or sprayed on. Some products, such as Burt's Bees Chemical-Free SPF 30 ($4 per ounce), had the testers wanting to wash the "tacky" residue off their skin.
The report emphasized that consumers should limit their time in the sun and use sunscreen in combination with protective clothing, hats and umbrellas.