how to apply water-resistant sunscreen for optimal protection

Jun 24, 2024

Summer is here, and whether you're planning a day at the beach, a hike in the mountains, or just a backyard BBQ, protecting your skin from the sun is essential. Water-resistant sunscreens are a must for any outdoor activity involving water or heavy perspiration. However, applying them correctly is key to ensuring your skin stays protected. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to apply water-resistant sunscreen for maximum effectiveness.

Understanding Water-Resistant Sunscreens

First, let's clarify what "water-resistant" means. Water-resistant sunscreens are formulated to stay on your skin for a certain amount of time when you get wet. However, they are not waterproof. This means you must reapply them regularly to maintain protection. According to FDA regulations, water-resistant sunscreens must specify how long they provide protection while swimming or sweating—typically 40 or 80 minutes.

**It's important to note that terms like "waterproof" and "sweatproof" are no longer legally acceptable for sunscreen products. According to the latest FDA regulations, these claims are misleading because no sunscreen can provide complete protection while swimming or sweating. Instead, sunscreens can only be labeled as "water-resistant" for a specified duration, typically 40 or 80 minutes, indicating how long they maintain their effectiveness when exposed to water or sweat. This change ensures that consumers are better informed about the limitations of their sunscreen and the necessity of regular reapplication for optimal protection.

Why Proper Application Matters

Correctly applying water-resistant sunscreen is crucial to protecting your skin from sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. It’s not just about slathering on some lotion before you head out; there’s a bit of science and timing involved.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Water-Resistant Sunscreen

Choose the Right Sunscreen

- Label Check: Ensure your sunscreen is labeled "water-resistant."

- SPF Rating: Opt for SPF 30 or higher. If you plan to be outdoors for a long period or the UV index is high, SPF 50+ is recommended.

- Broad Spectrum: Make sure it offers broad-spectrum protection, guarding against both UVA and UVB rays.

Apply Before Going Outdoors

- Timing: Apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside. This allows it to form a protective layer on your skin.

- Amount: Use about one ounce (a shot glass full) to cover your entire body. For your face, use a nickel-sized amount.

- Method: Apply a visible layer to all sun-exposed areas, then rub it in evenly. Pay special attention to easily missed spots like the back of your neck, ears, tops of your feet, and the back of your hands.

Reapply Regularly

- After Swimming or Sweating: Reapply immediately after swimming or sweating for the duration specified on the label (either 40 or 80 minutes).

- After Toweling Off: Toweling off can remove sunscreen, so reapply immediately after drying yourself.

- General Rule: Even if you haven’t been swimming or sweating, reapply every two hours to maintain protection.

Additional Tips for Maximum Sun Protection

• Layer Up with UV-Protective Clothing

Sunscreen alone might not be enough, especially if you’re wearing minimal clothing. UV-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses can provide additional protection.

• How to Remove Water-Resistant Sunscreen

Removing water-resistant sunscreen is simple and should be part of your daily cleansing routine. Use a gentle facial or body cleanser and water. Avoid harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your skin.

Applying water-resistant sunscreen correctly is vital for effective sun protection. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your time in the sun while keeping your skin safe from harmful UV rays. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you use correctly and consistently.

For more detailed tips and answers to common sunscreen questions, check out our other articles and resources on sun safety. SHOP HERE

Stay safe, and have fun in the sun!