What Are Waterproof Sunscreens?

If you or your family love water sports – swimming, water skiing, snorkelling – then the allure of waterproof sunscreens is hard to resist. Factor in hot weather, tropical heat or perspiration and and you’ll want to know that your sunscreen is performing. There is a fair amount of confusion as to what constitutes a waterproof sunscreen and this article will help you to decide in choosing the formulation that will suit your needs. The truth is that a truly waterproof sunscreen doesn’t exist and you may be putting yourself and your family at risk for sunburns, long term skin damage, including skin cancer if you buy into labelling applied by sunscreen manufacturers.


Waterproof vs Water Resistant Sunscreens


Since 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented regulations that require companies to eliminate the use of the word “waterproof” when referring to sunscreens. Labelling a product as a waterproof sunscreen is misleading, because sunscreens cannot be formulated to stay on the skin forever. Despite this regulation, you’ll still find sunscreens labelled as waterproof so it’s important to understand what kind of protection you’re actually getting.


The FDA considers a sunscreen to be “water resistant” if it maintains its SPF level after 40 minutes of water exposure. And instead of waterproof, the FDA has recommended use of the term “highly water resistant “ or “very water resistant”. You may still find sunscreens labelled as waterproof, which technically means it is highly water resistant. This means that the sunscreen will maintain its SPF level after 80 minutes of exposure to water. If you are planning on pursuing an outdoor activity that includes exposure to water, you may want to choose one that is labelled as such. After 80 minutes in the water, it’s time to reapply.


Waterproof Sunscreens To Choose


New technology allows manufacturers to formulate sunscreens that adhere well to skin. Waterproof or water resistant sunscreens may feel a bit heavier than those that are not water resistant. This feature does give them staying power. In choosing a sunscreen that will deliver for your water activities, ensure that it affords broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays and that it is photostable, meaning that the sun filters will hold up against exposure to sunlight. Lastly, consider applying a minimum of SPF 30, especially if you are fair skinned and have a tendency to burn. Choose from a selection of water resistant sunscreens as found in the line of Anthelios sunscreens by La Roche Posay.

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