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Consumer Reports: Testing sunscreens to see how well they protect us

If your sunscreen is more than two years old, throw it away.

CLEVELAND — Consumer Reports tested sunscreens to see how well they protect against two types of UV rays. UVA, which causes aging and skin cancer, and UVB, which causes sunburn.

Testers applied sunscreen to the backs of volunteers and then asked them to soak in a tub based on the product's water resistance claim. 

Then they exposed the area to simulated sunlight.  The next day, trained experts examined the area for redness. 

A top performer that’s also a CR Best Buy is Equate (Walmart) Ultra Lotion SPF 50.

The volunteers also tested sunscreens for scent, feel, and appearance. 

The tests showed several sunscreens absorbed quickly into skin and leave little to no residue on people of a variety of skin tones.

One of the top picks, Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50.  

The FDA recalled several aerosol sunscreens because of contamination with the chemical benzene.  CR tested for benzene and all the products reviewed came back negative. 

To find out if you have a recalled sunscreen spray, click HERE.  If you do throw it away. 

Consumer Reports also recommends that parents choose lotion sunscreens for kids and use sprays as a last resort, because kids may inhale the spray, which could cause lung irritation.

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