The season of the sun is here and all we can think about is the beach and open oceans. Of course the next thing that comes to our minds is sunscreen. And if it isn’t, then it is about time you make it so! Summers are no fun if you have to spend them indoors treating a sun burn. Summers are meant to be spent out in the open merrily!
So stock up on sunscreen right away, Get to that shelf on the store by your place and start looking for what fits you best. And as you look through those selves, I am sure you will come across one or two brands and products at least that say waterproof. Excited, aren’t you? But before you pick it up, you should know that they companies don’t mean waterproof in the way we understand it.
Before we jump onto the facts of the waterproof sunscreens, let’s get some of the basics right – Basically two types of ultra violet radiations can harm the skin – UV-A, which is responsible for penetrating deep into our skin and aging it. UV-B is responsible for burning your skin. Long term exposure to these radiations causes skin cancer.
Sunscreens can be categorized into two types – Some of them absorb radiations and prevent it from damaging your skin while the others reflect or bounce back the radiations away from the skin. These are referred as Sun blocks. A good sunscreen/sun block must offer protection from both – UVA and UVB radiations – the products which claim protection from both the types of radiations are termed as Broad spectrum labelled. Most of the ones which specify SPF factor on the bottles offer only UVB protection. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure used to test how efficiently the formula limits UVB exposure.
Waterproof Sunscreens: The Truth Behind it
The manufacturers of waterproof sunscreens date back to over 20 years – the companies started to improvise the formulations in order to perform better and long lasting sunscreens in all conditions including water. After all when a customer shells out her hard earned money, she expects the best. Now the market has been flooded with sunscreens every summer – so make sales better they take it up a notch by printing the word” waterproof” to lure all the consumers. A naive and a new consumer would look out for the best sunscreen available and assume the waterproof sunscreen to be by far the best because waterproof sunscreen would be excellent in terms of performance and the standard assuming the sunscreen would be water- resistant and would eliminate the process of re-application every now and then.
The truth lies in the fact that there is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. Since the companies were rampantly using words which claimed” waterproof” and “sweat proof”, FDA proposed a new rule which took effect in 2012 which reduced the label claims that sunscreen manufacturers used.
The sunscreen products label will be governed by FDA which states that sunscreens can no longer be labelled as “waterproof” or “sweat proof” because it is misleading. The company can, however, label the product as “water- resistant”. The companies are improving on formulations which adhere onto the skin for longer but if you sweat heavily or are engaged in water activities, you will need to re-apply sunscreen.
The term waterproof sunscreen effectively means that it provides protection for 80 minutes in water and the term Water resistant means that it provide protection for 40 minutes in water; which means skipping the process of reapplication of sunscreen, especially if you have been sweating or swimming is never an option. So in reality no waterproof sunscreen for swimming is actually as long stay as they make it sound!
So, the next time you pick up a sunscreen, don’t be fooled by false labels – a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 to 50 will offer sufficient protection. Always remember to re applying sunscreen after every two hours especially when your engaged in water sports.
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