Organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Dermatology urge consumers to look for three things when buying sunscreen, to ensure they're getting sufficient sun protection. The key attribute of any sunscreen is, of course, its sun protection factor, or SPF. Depending whom you ask, experts recommend at least 15 or 30. Water-resistant sunscreen remains effective while you're swimming or sweating. Water resistance is based on the length of time the sunscreen can maintain the stated SPF level: 40 minutes or 80 minutes. Sunscreen labeled "broad spectrum" protects against both types of ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB, to help prevent skin cancer and signs of aging in addition to sunburn. As an added bonus, all the cheap sunscreens on our list include moisturizing ingredients such as aloe and vitamin E. Most rely on the chemical avobenzone, along with some combination of homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone, to block UV rays. The latter is absent from Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish, as some suggest the chemical may be harmful. The Skin Cancer Foundation addresses these concerns.
|Cheapism Ranking||SPF||Broad Spectrum Protection||Water Resistance||Noteworthy Ingredients|
|Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 50 estimated price $0.97||Best||50||Yes||80 minutes||Avobenzone, oxybenzone, aloe, vitamin E, vitamin A (retinyl acetate)|
|No-Ad SPF 45 estimated price $0.31||Best||45||Yes||80 minutes||Avobenzone, oxybenzone, aloe, vitamin E, cocoa seed butter, vitamin A (retinol palmitate), olive oil|
|Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish SPF 30 estimated price $0.8||Good||30||Yes||80 minutes||Avobenzone, vitamin D3, sea-plant extracts, vitamins A, C, and E (oxybenzone-free, paraben-free)|
|Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 estimated price $0.56||Good||50||Yes||80 minutes||Avobenzone, oxybenzone, vitamin E|