When I am going swimming in the pool my skin gets tanned due to sun.

  • Which SPF value is suitable for my purpose?
  • Should I go for some specific ingredient, so that the lotion won't dissolve in water?
  • Are there other possibilities how to effectively protect against UV radiation from the sun?
  • 1
    Hi and welcome to TGO stackexchange. Your question, as you worded it, is formulated as a shopping question. These questions are considered off-topic on this site and will be closed. But you can edit it, so it fits ours rules, and will then get an answer for sure. Further information: Whats a shopping list question? Why is it off-topic? Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 10:37
  • 3
    It's called a rash guard.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 18:11
  • @PaulPaulsen hope this is better Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 18:11
  • 1
    Many sunscreens claim not to dissolve off in water. However, what SPF value you need is something only you can answer. It depends on how easily you burn, which is somewhat correlated to how light your skin is. We have no way of knowing either so answers can only be speculation. Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 18:34
  • @JigarGandhi Thanks, I think that is a lot better. Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


You will want to look for a sun cream that is designed for swimming - don't bother looking for specific ingredients, look for the bottles that say they are for sun and swim.

Usually in addition to the SPF they will have a rating or guide as to how often you need to reapply (eg every swim, or every two swims)

@ShemSeger's comment is the recommended way to protect children, and those who burn easily - get a Rash Vest or Sun Top. Typically these have an SPF over 50 and this doesn't need topping up through the day.

  • I was that child always in a t-shirt in the pool :) it was just much easier because swimming every day for several hours for two weeks... my mum got fed up of reapplying so often. To be honest, I now have PLE so have to still wear a t-shirt if swimming for too long!
    – Aravona
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 6:51
  • 1
    I don't burn easy, I just lazy and don't like putting oily, smelly lotion all over my body every hour or so.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 19:57

The problem with sunblock is that it will wash away in the water and has to be reapplied constantly or it won't work. However, the most effective way to avoid sunburn that people don't think about is just to avoid the sun entirely during the hours around Noon. After 3PM or so the UV intensity drops dramatically. This actually works out well for swimmers as the water tends to be warmer later into the day.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet_index#/media/File:UV_Index_NYC.png

For example, today the UV index after 5PM was only 3 (and dropping) despite the fact that it was fully bright outside and the sun was blazing hot.

If you don't know the current UV, a good rule of thumb is that if your shadow is shorter than you are (the sun is higher than 45 degrees) then you will need protection. If you're shadow is longer (and it's afternoon) then you should be good to go. However, this rule will vary depending on your skin and how easily you burn.

  • It is worth noting that UV exposure is non-thresholding, linear for risk of skin damage and cancer. So your point of 'shadow shorter than you are' certainly means that the suns rays are less intense, but any sun exposure is technically causing damage to you. Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 18:48
  • If your UV risk was linear then getting sunburned after an hour at UV10 would be equivalent to spending 10 hours at UV1 (aka Winter). Yet research shows that each 5 sunburns roughly doubles your risk of cancer. - Avoiding getting sunburned is far more important than any cumulative exposure. Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 20:56

When considering the 'best', at least for sunscreens, it's important to consider where you're buying, and why you're buying in that market.

The FDA is far behind other nations in sunscreen ingredient and labeling regulations.

US market sunscreens lack options for ingredients, which limits the effectiveness of the product, especially for UVA (the cancer causing kind) of radiation absorption. They also are held to looser standards as far as how much UVA is blocked. "Broad Spectrum SPF50" doesn't mean SPF 50 for both UVA and UVB, it means SPF50 for UVB (tans you) and some unknown degree of PA for UVA (cancer causing) rays. Additionally, because of the limited ingredients, sunscreens tend to be greasier and not stay on the skin for as long, increasing the risk of a negligent sunburn.

If you are relying on a sunscreen or sunblock for skin protection, it is a very good idea to look into non-US market sunscreens. Non-US (European and Asian, mostly) market sunscreens tend to be much more effective, longer lasting, more sweat and water resistant, and more pleasant to wear.

Essentially, look for a high SPF (>50), a high PA factor (PA+++ or PA++++ is the usual goal), and good water and sweat resistance. Read reviews. See what other testers say, and see how the product is labelled. Reapply it frequently. Don't buy US market sunscreens, often brands has a US and non-US market formulation. The US market version is hamstrung in order to pass FDA regulations.

  • 2
    This answer completely ignores the subject of the question which is sun protection for Swimming, but it does make some interesting claims that lead me to make a new post at skeptics Do FDA regulation make US Sunscreens less effective then international products? Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 10:03
  • @JamesJenkins You are completely correct, I have edited the list of features that make non-US markets better to include sweat and water resistance. Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 12:41
  • Additionally, the UVA factor alone means that even if they provide roughly the same protection time in water as US sunscreens, they will be superior to US sunscreens for that time period. Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 12:59
  • 1
    This is still not a good answer to this question, for the most part the US version are only available in the US and non-US versions are not available in the US (is it would be against the law to sell them per FDA rules). TGO is a global resource, the current answer is primarily a rant about FDA sunscreen regulations. Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 14:08
  • 1
    Being easy to acquire does equal legal. But again you are missing the point, this answer is not an answer to the question. Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 15:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.