The list of the best sunscreens for maximum protection this summer is out.

By Claudia Fisher
Updated May 11, 2018
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Wear the Best Sunscreen at the Beach
Credit: stock_colors/Getty Images

If you don't know you should be wearing sunscreen every day, rain or shine, you must be living under a rock (where you never see sun anyway, so I guess that's forgivable). A lot of makeups have SPF in them nowadays, which is a good baseline, but as the weather heats up you're definitely going to be getting outside more and need to be well-equipped to handle strong UVA and UVB rays with the best sunscreen.

Consumer Reports just released its list of the best sunscreens for 2018 after conducting its own laboratory tests that measured actual SPF levels (labels can lie) and effectiveness. The trials included 73 sunscreens claiming to be SPF 30 or higher and water-resistant in lotion, spray, or stick form, pulled right off the shelves of stores.

Deputy Editor of Health and Food at Consumer Reports Trisha Calvo told CBS News, "We do our own scientific, laboratory-based testing to identify differences in performance and give consumers a comparative evaluation. Every sunscreen is tested at the lab in the same way."

The report found that the top four sunscreens of 2018 are ... drum roll ....

  1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk ($19.99,
  2. Equate (Walmart) Sport Lotion SPF 50 ($4.98;
  3. BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50 ($8.49;
  4. Coppertone WaterBabies SPF 50 Lotion ($6.38;

For maximum sun-shielding results, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using 1 ounce of sunscreen ("enough to fill a shot glass"), which should be applied 15 minutes before stepping into the sun and reapplied every two hours and after swimming or sweating. Don't forget about protecting your lips! Those can burn, too.

With cosmetics, remember that FDA regulation on many marketing terms is limited–even on sunscreen. "Dermatologist recommended," "clinically proven," "sport," "natural," "mineral," and "hypoallergenic" don't have to meet set standards and can mean whatever the brands want them to mean. Another good distinction to keep in mind with sunscreens: SPF means it protects you from burn-causing UVB rays, but for additional protection against UVA rays–linked to skin cancer and signs of early aging–you need broad spectrum SPF. The top four sunscreens listed above all offer both UVA and UVB protection.