Warning! Your Water Resistant Sunscreen May Not Be Working

Jill Holtz

July 22, 2018

sunscreens for swimming

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A beach trip or enjoying the pool is part of the pleasure of summer holidays. You may have bought water resistant sun cream to use at the beach or pool, but you should be aware it may not be as effective as promised. Warning! Your Water Resistant Sunscreen May Not Be Working:

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New tests by consumer group Which? show that the water-resistance of suncreams drops significantly after they are worn in the pool or sea. Which? tested popular brands of sunscreen for swimming and found that the sun protection factor (SPF) of the creams dropped by nearly 60% in salt water.

The Which? tests checked the water-resistance of the brands in controlled conditions, using chlorinated water, salt water and moving tap water. The results of the test were that SPF dropped by 59% in both salt and moving water, while tap water and chlorinated water tests resulted in a drop of up to 40%

Which? now says that guidelines around sun cream water resistance are “unrealistic to the point of being meaningless” and warns that consumers may be at risk in the sun.

Sun Protection Tips When at the Beach or Pool

sunscreen for swimming

#1. Check the UVA coverage of your sunscreen

Just because your sunscreen has a high SPF number doesn’t mean it offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Check the UVA rating on the back.

You may also enjoy reading: SPF, UVA, UVB… Do you know what to look for in your Sunscreen?

#2. Apply sun cream 20 minutes before heading to the beach or pool

SPF takes at least 20 minutes to be absorbed and activated within your skin so do the first batch of suncream before you leave the holiday house / hotel room.

#3. Remember UVA and UVB rays can penetrate the water surface

When you are in the water, 60% of UVB and 85% of UVA rays can reach you 50cm beneath the surface. So always wear sunscreen and reapply afterwards.

#4. Reapply sunscreen regularly

Make sure you reapply sunscreen after each pool dip or sea swim. And make sure you are applying enough sun cream too. You need to apply approximately 35ml of sunscreen over your body for adequate sun protection.

So if you were to apply sunscreen twice during a single beach visit, a 200ml bottle should only last up to 3 days!

#5. Don’t forget those “sun traps”

Remember to apply cream to those little parts of the body that are easy to get burned:

  • Noses
  • Cheeks
  • Tips of your ears
  • Shoulders and top of the back
  • Back of the neck

And bring along a sunscreen lip balm to help keep lips protected.

#6. Hats are essential

Make sure the kids are wearing caps or hats to help shade their faces.

#7. Avoid midday sun

Staying in the shade is especially important in the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest.

You may also enjoy reading: New Suncare Technologies Help Families Stay Sun Smart

Over to you now. Any other tips on sun protection or sunscreen tips for kids? Share them with us in the comments below


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