Reapplying sunscreen is one of the biggest banes of a redhead’s life. It’s right up there with people pitying you for your lack of tan, and having people ask you “if the carpets match the drapes”.
But, as frustrating as it is, we all know the importance of reapplying sunscreen, particularly following water immersion. Right?
If you aren’t all that clued up on it, Which? has revealed something that might make you listen up. The consumer watchdog has discovered that many sunscreens that claim to be ‘water resistant’, are still quite far off the mark from being, well, water resistant.
As redheads, we may think that ‘water resistant’ sunscreen is a good way to go, in order to keep the reapplication rota to a minimum, but no such luck, according to Which?.
In their study, Which? tested two sun care products claiming to be water resistant and found that their SPF value dropped by up to 59% after 40 minutes’ immersion in salt water.
At the moment in the UK, a product can only be labelled as ‘water resistant’ if the SPF drops by up to 50% after two 20-minute periods immersed in tap water.
The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association said the findings were flawed and that consumers should trust water resistant sunscreen products, but Which? said their tests are more representative to conditions typically found on summer holidays. They told BBC News: “In reality, sun protection is likely to drop even further – factors such as reflection from water, heat, light, sweat, towelling and rubbing all reduce the protection of sunscreens.”
Cancer Research UK, who welcomed Which?’s new research, warned that no sunscreen is 100% effective. They recommend always applying plenty of product liberally and reapply regularly, remembering to cool off in the shade, and protecting the skin with a t-shirt and a hat.
So, what’s the lesson we’ve learned here, everyone? Reapply, reapply, and reapply. And if in doubt, just sit inside.