You might have heard of Consumer Reports before. It's a non-profit organization dedicated to unbiased product testing and consumer research and advocacy. Every single year, it releases a sunscreen guide, in which its experts test popular sunscreen products for efficacy in protecting skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays (that means sunburn, skin cancer, wrinkles, and other forms of sun damage). Each product is evaluated after going through a set of rigorous tests. Only a few sunscreens are crowned "excellent," and go on to become CR's official recommended products.
This year's sunscreen guide was just released, and we're pleased to report that one of our all-time favorite sunscreens earned a perfect score of 100 for the fifth year in a row, becoming CR's top recommended lotion sunscreen. We're so pleased, because we've used this product for years, and this offers up some much-appreciated validation. Keep scrolling to see which effective and budget-friendly sunscreen it is (hint: you can find it at most major drugstores).
Here it is—the only lotion sunscreen to receive a perfect score from Consumer Reports. This is huge, considering CR tested over 80 sunscreen products with a purported SPF of 30 or higher (SPF 30 is the minimum amount recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology). Out of 80 sunscreen products that were tested, 32 tested less than half of their labeled SPF number. That means that if a product claimed to offer SPF 30, CR found that it could really be offering less than SPF 15...which is scary; sure, it still offers some sun protection, but it's not even close to the level it claims.
Luckily, you don't have to worry about that with this SPF 60 La Roche Posay pick. It scored a perfect 100, meaning it effectively protects skin from UVA and UVB rays and the subsequent skin damage that they cause (like sunburn, skin cancer, fine lines, wrinkles, and even hyperpigmentation).
It's not just the sunscreen's efficacy that was tested by CR. Each product was also evaluated by "trained sensory panelists" for texture and scent. That means La Roche Posay's Anthelios Melt In Sunscreen Milk also earned high marks in those areas. As devoted users ourselves, we can say that it truly does "melt in" to the skin after it's applied. There is little left behind in way of greasiness or a white cast, which makes layering it under our makeup all the easier.
The only other lotion sunscreen that CR gave its best recommendation to was Bull Frog's Land Sport SPF 50 Gel Sunscreen. Its gel consistency makes it lightweight and breathable on the skin. Despite the texture or scent of a sunscreen, the CR sunscreen guide says you need to use an ounce of lotion to adequately cover your body in a bathing suit. That equates to a teaspoon of sunscreen per body part (face, arm, leg, etc) or a shot glass-sized amount in total. Keep that in mind next time you're applying sunscreen before a pool or beach day.
Other categories that CR included in the sunscreen guide (aside from the aforementioned lotion sunscreens) included spray sunscreens, sunscreens without oxybenzone, and mineral sunscreens. It's worth noting that the La Roche Posay pick is a chemical sunscreen, which means it absorbs UV rays and converts them to heat. That's different from physical (sometimes called mineral) sunscreens, which sit atop the skin like a shield, reflecting UV rays away from the skin. CR did not take this into account when judging sunscreens, and it should be pointed out that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) considers the ingredients in certain chemical sunscreens to be potentially harmful (read more about the difference between the two types, and the common ingredients in each, by clicking here).
If you prefer to wear mineral sunscreen in lieu of chemicals, opt for this natural formulation that earned the CR's recommendation. It offers water-resistant and unscented SPF 30, which is why it might be a good mineral sunscreen to wear if you struggle with sensitive skin.
The second mineral sunscreen that CR recommends is this one, which is technically formulated for kids—but sunscreen is sunscreen, right? It's vegan, water-resistant, and apt for super sensitive skin. It's also tinted to ensure even coverage.