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Top SUNSCREEN for 2011 (and sun tips too!)

Ahh, summer. We're so close to having some fun in the sun. As if you haven't heard this a ga-zillion times before, you need to play it safe and pack the sunscreen whenever you're outside. Not just on the sunny days. On those grey days too. If you have a cupboard filled with bottles from last season (or 5 seasons ago), it's proably best to toss them and get some fresh new bottles.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of sunscreen choices this past week. Do I go for the most expensive to be the most effective? The highest SPF? Is a spray better than a lotion? According to Consumer Reports, the best sun protection money can buy turns out to be the cheapest which is great news for us budget-conscious.

The magazine tested 22 sprays, creams and lotions, and for the second year in a row Up & Up’s Sport Continuous SPF 30 (a Target brand - but of course) is not only the best buy ($9.00/2 pack), but it's also one of the four most effective sunscreens as determined by Consumer Reports.

Other top winners:
*Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30
*Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30
*CVS Fast Cover Sport SPF 30

But before you buy it and apply it, here are some tips fresh from the pages of Glamour Magazine's May 2011 issue;

1. It’s Not Just About the SPF Level: “Once you go higher than SPF 50, there’s not much difference,” says NYC derm Robert J. Friedman, M.D. For the best protection, look for SPF 30 sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or Mexoryl.

2. You Need More Than You Think: One bottle of sunscreen for vacation may not be enough. “It takes one ounce to cover the body, and if you’re in the sun for six hours, you need to reapply twice,” says Scottsdale, Arizona, derm Jennifer Linder, M.D.

3. “Waterproof” Sunscreen Really Isn’t: Updated labels will refer to SPF as water-resistant, which protects for up to 40 minutes, or very water resistant, for up to 80 minutes. Reapply accordingly.

4. Heads Need Sun Protection Too: “The scalp is a common location for skin cancer,” says Dr. Linder. Use a hair sun protector—it’s less greasy than a lotion.

5. We Can Do Better: Sad but true: “Thirty-five percent of women still aren’t wearing sunscreen at all,” says Dr. Friedman. Don’t let that be you!

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