Summertime is officially in full swing, which means that it’s about time we have a serious conversation about sun protection. If you’ve been a longtime reader of ours, then you know how much we care about this issue. After all, protecting your skin from the sun gives you a serious leg-up when it comes to anti-aging and sunburn safeguarding, but it also does one other very important thing–when applied correctly, it lessens your skin cancer risk significantly.

We know what you’re thinking–who doesn’t know those facts, already? Enough with the sunscreen lectures!

While we’re happy to hear that you already know how to take care of your skin, chances are, you might not be making the best choices when it comes to selecting–or applying–your sunscreen. As it turns out, not all of these U/V blocking creams and sprays are created equal, but, lucky for you, some of the cheapest varieties on the market are the most effective.

Let’s look at one sunscreen, for example–Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ variety is actually the most effective and economical choice on the market today. In fact, Consumer Reports has given it a perfect score for the SIXTH straight year in a row. It’s an incredible feat considering that, at just $6, this generic sunscreen is around $24 cheaper than a comparable formula made by luxury skincare brand La Roche-Posay.

Who knew that the retailer of our guilty-pleasure wine, Two-Buck Chuck, also sells the least costly, most effective sun protection product on the market? Impressive stuff!

How to make sure you’re getting the most out of your sunscreen

Now that you know about the top sunscreens available today, let’s take the time to embark on a summertime skincare refresher. Here are the things you need to take into consideration before you smear on that sunscreen:

  • Stay away from sunscreens that boast SPFs over 50. While these varieties may look better than the rest, it’s been proven that they don’t offer you any more protection than a 30 or 50.
  • Opt for sunscreens that DON’T contain the ingredient retinyl palmitate. Though the FDA is still making a decision on whether or not they want to ban this inactive ingredient in sunscreens, specifically, there is evidence to suggest that it could speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions when exposed to the sun.
  • Select a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum coverage. This means that you will see on the label that the formula protects from both UVA as well as UVB rays.
  • Ensure that your sunscreen is labeled ‘water-resistant’–usually, this means that it can be worn on the skin for about 40 minutes while in the water. A must if you plan on hitting the beach or the pool this summer.

In addition to the above rules, do your best to ensure that you give your skin at least 20 minutes to absorb the sunscreen before exposing yourself to hazardous rays. It takes a bit of planning, but your health is worth the minor inconvenience!

To learn even more about Consumer Report’s most effective sunscreens and to get the names of the other sunscreens that scored well, be sure to watch the video below. Note: the report is from 2017, but the Trader Joe’s formula is still top-rated!

What are your thoughts on this sunscreen revelation? Do you use Trader Joe’s sunscreen? Do you have another favorite brand?