Consumer Reports Health tested 22 brands of sunscreen and recommended three for their low cost and decent protection from the sun's rays. A Target brand spray -- Up & Up Sport SPF 30 -- was recommended along with two lotions, No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45 and Equate Baby SPF 50.

Six other brands were recommended for their performance, but these three were also selected for their low cost. (The recommended Up & Up spray has a per ounce cost of 88 cents, compared to other brands with equal or lower ratings that cost two to three times as much.) All of the recommended sunscreen brands offered good EVA protection and excellent UVB protection, even after CRH volunteers wore them in the pool for as long as 80 minutes.

Typically I try to avoid product reviews and information on this blog, but so many parents seem lost -- their eyes glazed over -- as they stare at the many varieties of sunscreen on the store shelves. So I figured some recommendations couldn't hurt -- especially with the sun finally out and summer pool season only a couple weeks away.

Interestingly, CRH did make reference to the dispute over the value of sun screen -- and the animal tests that have found some harmful substances contained within certain varieties:

"Retinyl palmitate (listed among inactive ingredients), a type of topical vitamin A, is an antioxidant that animal studies have linked to increased risk of skin cancers. In skin, it converts readily to retinoids, which have been associated with a risk of birth defects in people using acne medications that contain them. As a precaution, pregnant women may want to avoid sunscreens with retinyl palmitate. Some examples of top performing sunscreens that do not contain retinyl palmitate include Up & Up Sport SPF 30 and Equate Baby SPF 50."

"More research is needed," CRH concludes, "but as of now, the proven benefits of sunscreen outweigh any potential risks."

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