What's in a Name?: a WAFF Special Report

It's summer time and a perfect time to plan your outdoor activities, but don't forget to heed mom's advice-- wear your sunscreen!

There are plenty of brands on the market to help keep you protected, so how do you choose which one is the right one for you?

There are a lot of things to consider when buying sun protection. You should definitely check the SPF level in each bottle and of course, the cost. But regardless of what you choose, doctors say pick something-- any protection is better than no protection from the sun.

A new study by Consumer Report shows that the most effective sunscreens out there are also the least expensive. Experts tested 22 sprays, creams and lotions-- both brand names and generics-- and here are the top picks:

•Banana Boat Sport Performance, SPF 30

•Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof, SPF 30

•CVS' Fast Cover Sport, SPF 30

But surprisingly, for the second year in a row, it was Up & Up's Sport Continuous, SPF 30, a Target store brand, that won best buy for its effectiveness and cost! It's just 88 cents per ounce.

Consumer report also rated poor sunscreens and La Roche-Posay, SPF 40, didn't score well at nearly $19 an ounce.

Dr. Patricia Wilson, a local dermatologist in Huntsville, who gave us the rundown on sun protection, says it really doesn't matter what brand you buy or how much it costs as long as the right ingredients are there.

"You want them to have UVA and UVB protection. UVB are your sun burn rays, but UVAs contribute to skin cancer," she said.

Dr. Wilson says 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime and the number of melanoma cases are on the rise. It's a cancer that's directly related to sun exposure and she's seen some pretty bad cases right here in the Tennessee Valley.

"The sun rays are harmful, they're very intense in the South and we do need to be careful," added Dr. Wilson.

If you're in the water, look for water resistant lotions or sprays. These will give you some added protection, no matter what your summer plans are.

Bottom line-- have a good time, but do it smart.

And don't forget to reapply! Dr. Wilson recommends a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. You'll want to put about a golf ball size amount on every hour and a half when you're outside.

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