Sun unblocked

Be wary of those SPF claims

It’s not yet summer on the calendar, but it’s definitely time to start lathering up with sunscreen before going outside. Just remember that all sunscreens are not created equal. For the fourth year in a row, testing by Consumer Reports found that many lotions fail to deliver the sun protection factor (SPF) they claim on their labels. Of 104 products tested over the four-year period, almost half failed to meet their SPF claims after being immersed in water—despite advertising water-resistance. And mineral-based products, considered a natural alternative for consumers with health concerns about the chemicals used in conventional sunscreens, are more likely to fail the SPF test (of 19 mineral sunscreens, 14 failed). To give yourself a better chance of getting at least 30 SPF—the minimum recommended by dermatologists—pick a chemical sunscreen with an SPF of 40 or higher.