The magazine Consumer Reports tested 20 types of sunscreen and found information you should know before heading out into the sun. Firstly, the lab results show that you can’t always rely on the SPF number listed on the bottle. Most of the products delivered less than the level claimed by the manufacturer.
There were also some caveats about spray sunscreens which have become popular in recent years. The US FDA is looking into the risks of inhaling the sprays. Until those results are out, the advice is to avoid using them on children. They are fine for adults, but do not to spray directly on your face. Instead, spray the sunscreen onto your hands then apply it to your face. It can be hard to gage whether you’re using enough. So apply as much as can be rubbed in. And remember, the sprays are flammable, so let them dry before going near an open flame.
You should apply any sunscreen about 20 minutes before going outside and reapply after 2 hours or after getting wet. For lotions, use 2 to 3 tablespoons.
Consumer Reports said 7 of the products it tested did well enough to recommend. That list included Banana Boat Ultra DefenseMax Skin Protect SPF 110 spray, Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 and Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sport SPF 70+ lotion.