You'll find stabilized avobenzone in other sunscreens, too, like Active Photo Barrier Complex and Dermaplex. Some of the excitement about these new products is advertising hype, says Leffell. For instance, any brand-name sunscreen that has avobenzone is stabilized.
In fact, some of the highest rated sunscreens in a Consumer Reports test were the least expensive, including Up & Up Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30 (Target) and Walgreens Sport Continuous Spray SPF 50. All of the most popular sunscreen brands tested by Consumer Reports tested either good or very good, though.
SPF is actually a measure of protection from amount of UVB exposure and it is not meant to help you determine duration of exposure. For best protection, experts recommend using a minimum SPF sunscreen of 15, applying the proper amount (2mg/cm 2 of skin, or about one ounce for full body coverage), and reapplying every 2 hours.
Both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are derived from chalky, reflective materials. While this is beneficial in reflecting the sun’s rays, the application of these materials can be unappealing on the skin, because it results in the white, chalky appearance, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Most active ingredients in sunscreen shield against UVB, but far fewer have UVA coverage, and only a handful offer both. Personally, Kundu uses an SPF 30 sunscreen with the active ingredient zinc oxide, a natural sunscreen ingredient that physically—instead of chemically—blocks rays.
The FDA only allows the claims 'Water Resistant (40 min)' or 'Water Resistant (80 min)' to be used on sunscreens sold in the USA. 'Water Resistant Sunscreens' retain their stated SPF value after a certain time (either 40 or 80 minutes) in water or while sweating.