Skin cancer is almost epidemic in the United States. It's the most common type of cancer, with more than one million cases diagnosed each year.
Using sunscreen is key to prevention. Consumer Reports just tested 12.
Unfortunately, not everyone who heads to the beach is using sunscreen--on the hit show Jersey Shore.
Dr. John Santa, of Consumer Reports says, "There is no such thing as a safe tan. Ultraviolet B rays can damage the skin by causing sunburn. And Ultraviolet A rays can wrinkle the skin and cause cancer."
Sunscreen is an important way to protect yourself. Consumer Reports tested a dozen sunscreens, including sprays, lotions, and a cream. All claim to protect against UVB rays and most against UVA rays.
The SPF number on labels only pertains to UVB rays.
Consumer Reports conducts tests to see how well sunscreens protect against both types of rays. At an independent lab, products are applied to people's backs. Then they're subjected to either UVB rays...or UVA rays.
Nicole Sarrubbo of Consumer Reports says, "Many of the sunscreens claim to be water-resistant, so we tested for that as well."
Some of the most expensive products weren't the best.
But Consumer Reports found four sprays offered very good protection, even in water.
Up & Up from Target is the least expensive, with an SPF of 30-which is sufficient for most people.
But be aware, tests found almost all of the sunscreens stain fabrics, so you need to be sure to wash it off.
Consumer Reports says sunscreen should be applied a half-hour before going out in the sun, and you need to reapply it every two hours and after swimming.