Waterproof sunscreen (verbiage is NOT ALLOWED as there is no such thing). But, you ask, what good is sunscreen if it washes away, right? It’s not just swimming that is sunscreen’s worst enemy, Sweat can wash away sunscreen, leaving your skin susceptible to burns and deeper damage. This is why people look for waterproof sunscreen, and in 2012 “sunblock,” “sweatproof,” and “waterproof” were no longer allowed. The FDA determined such claims on sunscreen products are false and could be misleading consumers by “overstating” their effectiveness. Water Resistant was allowed, and the FDA has cracked down on sunscreen manufacturers, now requiring the testing before printing on the label, "Water Resistant - 40 mins, or Water Resistant - 80 min". This means that the sunscreen must retain the SPF level stated on the product while a person is sweating or swimming for either 40 or 80 minutes.
When shopping for waterproof sunscreen now you know why you don’t see the words ‘sunblock", “sweat proof” or "waterproof" on the labels anymore. Yet, water protection is essential for beach goers, swimmers, surfers, boaters, runners, hikers, bikers, and anyone who will be in the water or exercising outdoors.
In order for a sunscreen manufacturer to make the claim that their product is 40 or 80 minute water resistant the product must pass the FDA test in an independent laboratory. The sunscreen is applied to the arm of a person and then submerged in a jacuzzi for 40 or 80 minutes. The sunscreen is then tested to see if the SPF has held up. Only then can the manufacturer put the water resistant claim on the label of their product. The jacuzzi is used to simulate swirling water that would occur when someone is swimming or surfing.
No matter which kind of sunscreen you use, you must reapply every two hours. As I like to say "Don't be Shy to Reapply"! Even if it’s water resistant, reapply after being in the water, especially if you’ve toweled off. The towel will remove the sunscreen that you previously applied.
One key to getting your best protection is to apply your sunscreen at least a 20 mins before being exposed to the sun.
Use an SPF of 30 or 50 and make sure it’s a broad spectrum sunscreen, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
UV Protective Clothing
Wearing UV protective clothing is the best sun protection you can buy and the most water resistant sunscreen, if you don't like using sunscreens. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the water, a long sleeve UV protective shirt will keep most of your skin covered and protected, but you will still need sunscreen for your face, ears, back of neck and hand.
UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) refers to how much ultraviolet (UV) radiation the fabric blocks. SPF, or Sun Protective Factor, is a similar measure for sunscreen’s effectiveness. So instead of applying a cream or a spray, you put on a shirt and wear your sunscreen. UPF is Broad Spectrum - UVA radiation, can cause skin aging (A for aging), and UVB radiation, which can cause skin burning (B for burning).
When it comes to interpreting UPF labels, like SPF don’t be fooled by the numbers. A UPF 30 fabric will block out 96.7% and a UPF 50 98% UV rays, just like SPF. If the UPF 50 style and fabric work for you, enjoy the extra protection. Some UPF 50+ labels indicate extra protection and have tested showing 99% UV protection.
Sweat and Water Resistant Sunscreen For The Face
Many people prefer to use a separate sunscreen for their face to avoid breakouts and irritation to delicate skin in that area. As everyones skin is different, creams or sprays, it's up to you to find one that works best for you. Remembering to reapply, depending on skin tone and activities, after 40 mins (in water, then toweling) to 80 mins in the water. Otherwise, every 2+ hours if you are not in the water or sweating.
The Numbers (SPF & Minutes)
So, now you realize that there are two numbers on your sunscreen to take note of. One is the SPF and the other is the number of minutes of resistance to water or sweat that the product offers.
Again, a broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen with 80 mins water resistance protects you from 98% of UVA and UVB rays (80 mins or one hour and 20 minutes in the water.) If you are in the water more than that, you must reapply. That hour and 20 minutes goes by a lot quicker than you think, so find a way to keep track.
Remember time flies when you’re having fun!