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Does Waterproof Sunscreen Last All Day?


We’re in the dog days of summer.

That means it’s hot and sunny!  For a lot of people outdoor activities like swimming, yard work, exercise, or just hanging out on the patio are a normal part of summer.  A lot of these activities require getting wet, whether from water or your own sweat.  Sunscreen is crucial, so it’s normal to reach for products that are waterproof.  

But, does waterproof sunscreen last all day?

How does waterproof sunscreen work?

There are two types of sunscreen:

  • Physical sunscreen

  • Chemical sunscreen

Physical sunscreen is made of minerals that are applied to the skin and they reflect the sun’s UV rays away from the body.

Chemical sunscreen is absorbed.  The sunscreen absorbs UV rays but keeps the rays out of the deeper layers of the skin to protect the cells.  Chemical sunscreens have active ingredients that include oxybenzone and octinoxate.  Unfortunately these chemicals are not waterproof and they are also not good for marine life, if you wear sunscreen containing these ingredients into the ocean, ponds, lakes, or rivers.  

Most waterproof sunscreens are technically not waterproof.  Instead, they are water resistant, and many manufacturers have changed their labeling so consumers know that they aren’t completely protected.  Water resistant sunscreens are chemical sunscreens that contain specially formulated ingredients to help them grip the skin so the sunscreen stays on during water exposure (or sweat).  One of those ingredients is cetyl octanoate which forms a film over the skin to repel water.  

One thing a lot of people do is apply their waterproof sunscreen and immediately jump into the water.  But read the label on any products you buy!  Most of them say to wait 15-20 minutes before swimming or doing vigorous activities.  If your skin hasn’t absorbed the product, it’ll wash away before it can do its job. 

How often should I apply waterproof sunscreen?

In general, waterproof sunscreen lasts for around 80 minutes after water exposure. After 80 minutes you should reapply it.  Check the label of the brand you are using.  Some waterproof sunscreens do not contain cetyl octanoate and wear off in about 40 minutes.  Sunscreens also have expiration dates and expired products wear off quickly as well.  

How you apply your sunscreen matters as well.  If your skin is exposed to the sun, cover it in sunscreen, being careful not to miss areas like your ears, your scalp, and the back of your neck.  Be sure to rub it in as well so that it is absorbed.  

Before reapplying sunscreen, be sure to dry off.  Then wait twenty minutes before going back into the water if you plan on swimming more.  

The Best Sunscreen for the Face

Sunscreen is usually pretty thick and has a creamy texture, especially chemical sunscreens. 

There are waterproof sunscreens available for the face, but because they are so thick, you need to look for something specifically formulated to not clog pores.  And even if you do find one, they can sometimes leave a white cast on your face.   Another issue is that sunscreen can be a bit sticky, making it difficult to blend foundation.

Although Qyral’s Protect Phytovie Cell Defense Primer- Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen is not waterproof, it is like no other.  It serves as both a mineral primer, leaving the skin soft and smooth, and as a sunscreen.  It’s a one-stop solution for protecting your skin!

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