Is There Actually Such a Thing as Waterproof Sunscreen?


Being exposed to sunlight for extended periods when you’re not wearing sunscreen is a bad thing. This is something that we can all agree upon. Sunburn is unpleasant and should be avoided. That’s another. But what about the existence of waterproof sunscreen that protects you 100% whether you’re sweating or swimming – that’s real, right? 

Well, as much as some sunscreen manufacturers would have you believe it, it’s not true. Rather than leaving that rather pointed statement where it is, we’re now going to explain why it’s a falsehood that could result in redness, irritation, and at worse, burns! 

Waterproof Sunscreen Is Really Only Water Resistant 

Ordinarily, with a sunscreen product that has no claims to be waterproof or water-resistant, it’s necessary to reapply it directly after swimming or sweating. The reason? Traditional formulas will pretty much just slip off you and leave you unprotected. 

The products that DO claim to be waterproof WILL allow you to stay in the water for anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes, but that’s where the limitation lies. These sunscreen products will be resistant for this period of time, but will never be waterproof. 

The reality is that there is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen, so you still need to keep an eye on your watch and perhaps even set an alarm or two to ensure the necessary reapplication is carried out as the direction will surely lay out. 

What the FDA’s Rules Say About the Matter 

Back in 2012, the FDA made a ruling that sunscreen manufacturers would no longer be able to label their products as being waterproof or even sweat-proof. The reason for this is that is was seen as misleading to customers, as they clearly overstated what they could do. Being ‘Waterproof’ would suggest that the UV barrier it provides is impervious to water, but this simply isn’t true, no matter which way you slice it.

The Resistance Provided Does Not Account For Towelling

Something else that needs to be considered is the fact that the 40-80 minute protection that water-resistant products provide does not take into account the fact that most people will towel themselves off when leaving the water, rather than simply drip drying. 

Another variable is the fact that chlorine – as you’ll find in swimming pools – is known to degrade sunscreen. So, the rules may differ depending on whether you’re at the beach or by the pool. You see, it’s not as simple as applying sunscreen that’s waterproof and getting on with your day.

Don’t Be Fooled By Waterproof Sunscreen Claims 

No matter how impressive-looking a sunscreen’s packaging and advertising is, don’t be fooled by claims that it offers full waterproof UV protection. The truth of the matter is that technology has not yet created such a product, so if you use it as such, it’s just a matter of time until you or your family ends up getting sunburned because of it. 

Always be cautious when it comes to the sun and if you’re spending time out in it while in the water, focus on reapplication on a regular basis. You’ll still get a tan (if a little slower), but you’ll spare yourself from that glowing evening redness that can mean only one thing – you’re burnt! 

Everyone deserves to experience the joy of having fun in the sea and the sun, and by remembering what we’ve told you here today, you can do so without damaging your skin. 


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