"I was very interested in your product until I saw the reapplication instructions. I currently use Badger. Basically all sunscreens say reapply after swimming. But the question is will True hold up while you are swimming? Every 40 minutes seems a bit much. That to me would not be long lasting SPF coverage. So if you go to the beach and swim, every 40 minutes you need to reapply? How long for reapplication if not swimming?"
That's a great question. There's been a lot of confusion about the whole water resistance issue for sunscreen.
FDA, the regulating body for sunscreens, allows manufacturers to label their sunscreens as water resistant, and very water resistant. Those are the only two allowed claims. Prior to this summer, many other manufactures would use the claim "Water proof" but the FDA has now cracked down on this and made it illegal for anyone to make this claim.
NOTE: In 2011, FDA issued new guidance on water resistance, requiring manufacturers of new sunscreens to explicitly state "40 minutes" or "80 minutes" on the label to indicate the level of water resistance if resistance is claimed.
In order to use the claim "Water Resistant", we have to show that the SPF on the sunscreen is still effective after a person has been submerged in water for a period of 40 minutes. IE if we put on the SPF 40 sunscreen, then sit in the pool for 40 minutes, and then retest the effectiveness of the sunscreen — it must have an SPF of 40 or more. If it measures SPF 35 — then we either can label the sunscreen SPF 35, or not make the Water Resistance claim.
If a sunscreen has "Very Water Resistant" on the packaging, then that means that the sunscreen would keep its effectiveness even after submersion in water for 80 minutes. We did not test either sunscreen for Very Water Resistant. We did test the SPF 20 on 3 subjects, but the results were so close to the cutoff (results between 19.5—20.5) that we decided to not complete the test and skipped the Water Resistance claim. The SPF 40 passed with flying colors (with a final SPF measuring 41.5).
So — does this mean that our sunscreens need to be reapplied after 40 minutes? No — it just means that the sunscreen has been tested to keep the stated effectiveness after full submersion in water for 40 minutes. After that, the effectiveness may decline over time as one continues to stay submerged in water.
The FDA recommends use of a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating and to reapply sunscreens at least every 2 hours. The True Natural SPF 40 Active is rated Water Resistant (tested to be effective after immersion in water for a period of 40 minutes). The True Natural SPF 50 sunscreens currently have NOT been tested for water resistance. This testing is planned for and the packaging updated to reflect the results for the 2013 sunscreen season.