CoppertoneTanning Sunscreen Lotion SPF 4
8 fl. oz. for $8.99
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Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen Lotion SPF 4 is an embarrassing product not only because it actively encourages the skin-damaging practice of tanning, but its SPF rating is well below the minimum SPF 30 recommended by dermatologists all over the world.

Its active ingredients combine to provide broad spectrum protection, but SPF 4 is such a short duration for most people, you'll likely need to reapply this every half hour to maintain the already-too-low level of sun protection.

The other issue is the outdated formula which is mostly void of anything truly helpful for skin and instead subjects skin to a lot of fragrance, which isn't skin-caring in the least.

The price is great for a large bottle of sunscreen, but if you want a bargain, minimalist formula, we strongly urge you to pick one with a much higher SPF rating that doesn't encourage tanning, the fastest way to see early signs of skin aging and other side effects no one wants.

  • Inexpensive and generously sized.
  • Encourages tanning, which is always bad for skin.
  • SPF 4 is embarrassingly low.
  • Fragranced formula poses a risk of aggravating skin.
More Info

Sunscreens Rated Lower than an SPF 30:

An extensive body of research and a growing number of medical organizations around the world have determined that a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater is mandatory to ensure adequate sun protection.

While a sunscreen will provide protection at the SPF number on the label and may claim broad spectrum protection, we will always point out when it doesn't meet the standard of being an SPF 30 or greater because of how important it is for the health of your skin.

References for this information:

Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, August 2014, issue 4, pages 212-219

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2008, issue 5 supplemental, pages S149-154

Last Updated:09.28.2016
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Community Reviews
Classic Coppertone® fragrance. Lightweight, non-greasy formula. Moisturizing formula with aloe and vitamin E. Water resistant (80 minutes)

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate (3%), Octocrylene (2%) Inactive Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, Cetyl Phosphate, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Fragrance, Carbomer, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA

Brand Overview

Coppertone At-a-Glance

Strengths: A few effective, basic sunscreens with various but typically lightweight textures (especially the Ultra Sheer); all recommended sunscreens are also water-resistant; inexpensive, which should encourage liberal application and reapplication; reliable self-tanners tailored to various skin tones.

Weaknesses: The majority of their sunscreens lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients, even though Coppertone clearly knows about this and routinely reformulates; all continuous spray products contain irritating alcohol.

This ubiquitous sun-care line has been around for over sixty years and is almost as synonymous with sunscreen as Kleenex is with facial tissue. Yet despite their longstanding history, there is something wanton about a corporation so recognized as a sunscreen manufacturer selling such an abundance of pathetically formulated sunscreens. Although more Coppertone sunscreens than ever include avobenzone or zinc oxide for UVA protection, most of them are still lacking—making this a line to shop very carefully. Ironically, Coppertone includes a fair amount of accurate, sun-smart information on their Web site—but their products aren't following the same advice! For example, they recommend you apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher whenever you go outdoors—but then they sell several sunscreens with SPF ratings well below that. That's sort of like your personal trainer puffing on a cigarette while encouraging you to go another ten minutes on the treadmill. They also correctly advise consumers to reapply sunscreen after swimming, perspiring, or toweling off, yet sell products they claim are waterproof and "ultra sweatproof." Don't they realize that is likely to be interpreted by most people as 'one application and you're good to go no matter what outdoor activity is planned'? Regardless of the type of tenacious claim made, all sunscreens need to be reapplied at regular intervals if you are swimming or engaged in strenuous physical activity.

Coppertone also boasts that its sunscreens for kids are the ones recommended most by pediatricians. If that's true, and your child's pediatrician recommends this brand without being specific as to which sunscreen to choose and which to avoid, be sure you find another pediatrician right away. It would mean your child's doctor doesn't know about the cumulative damage from UVA rays, andwe would worry about what else he or she wasn't up to date on.

For more information about Coppertone, call (866)-288-3330 or visit www.coppertone.com.

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