Most popular sunscreens might not be the most effective

Story highlights

  • The research looked at 65 sunscreens on the top-selling list on
  • Sunscreen purchases are influenced by a number of factors including cosmetic applicability

(CNN)Nearly 40% of top-selling sunscreens don't meet the American Academy of Dermatology's criteria, according to a new study.

The research found that popular products from well known brands such as Neutrogena and Eucerin fell short of the academy's sunscreen recommendations due to their lack of water resistance.
    Dermatologists "are often asked to recommend sunscreens, and we wanted to know what consumers prefer," said lead study author Dr. Steve Xu. "This way, we are suggesting popular products they will actually use that will protect them."
      The academy recommends that everyone use sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection (against UVA and UVB rays), has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and is water-resistant.
      Two industry groups urged caution about the research. "This is not an important finding since not all effective sunscreens must be water-resistant. Many consumers looking for daily use product may prefer sunscreens without this attribute, and it is not critical for the sunscreen to be effective," the Personal Care Products Council and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said in a statement.
      The 65 top-rated sunscreens identified in the new research were on the top-selling list on as of December and were selected using a number of factors, including customer reviews. The researchers' goal was to identify high-performing products that are affordable and popular, in order to encourage adherence to sunscreen use.
      "While it is always good to assess consumers' attitudes, using as the universe of sunscreen purchasers is problematic," said