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Brand reputation, high ratings, and a good-looking price tag are usually the top considerations when shopping for sunscreen products. But disturbingly, even fake SPF can pass these criteria with flying colors.

Anyone can fall prey to counterfeit sunscreens. Many shady sellers market convincing replicas of popular beauty products, complete with manipulated reviews. While it's hard to spot a fake item based on packaging alone, paying attention to these tell-tale signs will help you shop for sunscreen products without getting duped.

The Price Is Ridiculously Cheap

In most cases, affordable pricing can lure people into unknowingly buying fake sunscreen products. Don’t be easily tempted by a good deal, especially if the item always seems to be on sale.

Well-established brands or stores usually offer discounts only during special events (like ) and flash sales. Even then, legit products are rarely sold at less than half their normal price. So, double-check whenever you encounter sunscreens that are heavily discounted without any reason.

The Reviews Look Auto Generated

Five-star ratings don’t guarantee a product’s authenticity. Sellers can cheat the system by creating automated bots or hiring dummy accounts to buy their products and write glowing reviews. They may look okay at first glance, but upon closer inspection, you’ll notice some strange patterns.

Staged reviews typically lack specificity or detail, are full of typos, and have generic words or phrases. The product photos accompanying these reviews can also look overly polished, as they may be stock images. To be sure, click on the customer’s profile and dig into their other reviews.

The Ingredients List Is Out of Order

Sunscreens are formulated with such as zinc oxide and oxybenzone that shield your skin against . Under the cosmetic labeling regulations, all ingredients must be listed in order of concentration, starting from the most concentrated to the least. Ideally, a reliable sunscreen should list its UV-filter actives as its top three ingredients. This means if zinc oxide or oxybenzone are listed at the bottom, you won’t get much from it. So, make sure to scan before buying.

It Has a Weird Smell and Texture

are one of the many ingredients of sunscreen products. Their purpose is to solubilize UV filters, so the lotion spreads easily over the skin. Most fake sunscreens don’t have the right amount of emollients, which can result in a streaky or sticky texture. When you apply them to your skin, they leave a white film that refuses to blend.

The scent of your newly bought sunscreen can also provide clues about its authenticity. Some SPF products contain fragrance – but it’s never too overpowering. Scammers may try to replicate the scent using cheap ingredients, resulting in a chemical-y, off-putting smell.

Your Skin Reacts Badly to It

Fake products haven’t been tested or certified for efficacy or safety. Counterfeiters may use harsh or undisclosed ingredients that can sting or burn the skin. Moreover, these fraudulent sunscreens can’t protect you from , , and other .

Before applying a new sunscreen all over the face, do a patch test on the inside of your arms. Discontinue use if you get rashes or redness.

If you’re looking for an affordable but effective sunscreen product, try POND'S UV Hydrate Sunscreen. It has SPF 50 PA++++ and is infused with Hyaluron that gives you a glass-skin effect. You can also try using POND'S UV Bright Sunscreen, which has Gluta-Niacinamide that helps fade .

When it comes to your skin and protecting it from sun damage, never compromise on quality. Always buy from a reputable seller or an authorized retailer when online shopping for sunscreen products and use your better judgment. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.