Each year, Consumer Reports, comes out with their top sunscreens for the upcoming summer season. Redheads are genetically more susceptible to getting skin cancer because we carry what’s called the MC1R gene. That means we need to be especially cautious when we’re out in the sun.

READ: Sun Protection 101 for Redheads From a 6-Time Melanoma Survivor 

We turn to this trusted list of products to ensure our redhead skin is being protected at all times.

The sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of how long a sunscreen will protect you from the harmful UVB rays. For example, an SPF of 30 would allow you to stay in the sun 30 times longer than you could without protection.

HOW THE TESTS WERE PERFORMED 

Consumer Reports conducted UVB and UVA protection tests. As detailed on their website, the UVB protection was conducted by applying sunscreen to fix places on their participant’s backs. Then, they soak them each in water. The areas are then exposed to “six intensities of UVB light from a sun simulator for a set time.” A day later, they are examined.

“To test for UVA, we smear sunscreen onto plastic plates and pass UV light through and measure the amount of UVA and UVB rays that are absorbed. That information is then used to calculate our UVA score,” stated on their website.

CONSUMER REPORTS CONCLUSION: “YOU CAN’T RELY ON SPF NUMBER”

“Our tests of over 70 sunscreen lotions, sprays, sticks, and lip balms show that you can’t always rely on the sun protection factor (SPF) number, a measure of protection from ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, which is the chief cause of sunburn and a contributor to skin cancer. We also tested for protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which tan and age skin, and also trigger skin cancer.”

Twenty-four (24) products tested at less than half their labeled SPF number. This means you aren’t getting the degree of protection you think you are.

CONCLUSION ABOUT NATURAL OR MINERAL SUNSCREEN: THEY “PERFORM LESS THAN THOSE WITH CHEMICAL ACTIVE INGREDIENTS”

Another fascinating conclusion was on “natural” or mineral sunscreen –– those that contain only titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or both as active ingredients. Consumer Reports discovered these type of sunscreens perform less than those that have chemical active ingredients.

READ: The 1 Area Redheads Are Probably Forgetting To Apply Sunscreen 

THE TOP 4 WINNERS ARE (PLUS 3 MORE SPECIFIC CATEGORY WINNERS):

1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk, $35.99: This sunscreen has won the top spot four years in a row. It’s fast-absorbing and great for those with sensitive skin.

2. Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50, $13: This product by Walmart is a must-have. Contains a no-run formula to help when sweating outdoors.

3. BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50, $8: A must have for redheads of the outdoors who want quick and powerful sun protection.

4. Coppertone WaterBabies SPF 50 Lotion, $8: Protect your little one from the sun with this gentle non-irritating sunscreen.

Top Spray Sunscreen: Trader Joe’s Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50+, $15

Top Stick Sunscreen: Up & Up Kids Sunscreen Stick SPF 55 by Target, $8 (for two)

Top Natural Sunscreen: California Baby #Supersensitive Lotion SPF 30+, $27

Keep this list handy when shopping for ‘Redhead Friendly’ sunscreen products this summer. Rock it like a Redhead! 

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