Consumer Reports: Easy Ways to Protect Your Skin in Summer
Easy Ways to Protect Your Skin in Summer
CR’s top sunscreens and insect repellents can help you enjoy the outdoors safely
Hiking, camping, watching a baseball game—chances are your perfect summer day involves spending time outside. Just don’t forget to bring along the sunscreen and insect repellent.
Sunburns and insect bites are more than just short-term discomforts. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause wrinkles and skin cancer, and mosquitoes and ticks can transmit serious diseases such as the West Nile virus and Lyme. But CR’s tests of dozens of sunscreens and insect repellents have found effective options to keep you safe outside. These tips will help you use them the right way all season long.
Many people turn to “natural” sunscreens and insect repellents because they’re concerned about the harmful effects of chemicals such as avobenzone or oxybenzone in sunscreens and deet in insect repellents. But the products made with chemical ingredients—as opposed to “mineral” sunscreens and insect repellents made with essential oils—have been found to offer the best protection year after year in CR’s tests.
For sunscreen: All our top-rated sunscreens have chemical active ingredients. While it’s true that these chemicals have been shown to be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, experts at the Food and Drug Administration (which oversees sunscreens) have said that the fact that a substance is absorbed doesn’t automatically make it unsafe. And CR’s experts—and others—still recommend using those sunscreens. “Chemical UV filters are highly effective ingredients that have been used safely for years,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. (Some people may want to avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemical active ingredients may possibly harm oceans, and some evidence suggests that oxybenzone may interfere with hormones in the body.)
Sally Wadyka writes more on the top sunscreens and insect repellents to help you enjoy the outdoors safely here: https://www.consumerreports.org/outdoor-safety/easy-ways-to-protect-your-skin-in-summer/