Spending time in the sun increases a person’s risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. To reduce these risks, consumers should regularly use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher in combination with protective measures such as:
- Limiting time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Wearing clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun (long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats) when possible.
- Using a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating.
- Reapplying sunscreen, even if it is labeled as water-resistant, at least every 2 hours. (Water-resistant sunscreens should be reapplied more often after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the label.)
Consumers should also be aware that no sunscreens are “waterproof” because all sunscreens eventually wash off. Sunscreens can only be labeled as “water-resistant” if they are tested according to the required SPF test procedure. Sunscreens labeled “water-resistant” successfully will also be required to state whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes when swimming or sweating, and all sunscreens will be required to provide directions on when to reapply.
Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration