Once a Day Sunscreens

Have you heard of once a day sunscreens? More than just a dream that most of us wish were true, these sunscreens have been available in limited markets for a number of years but have not made the leap to our local stores in North America.

Once a day sunscreens claim to protect from both UVA and UVB rays for extended periods of time. Some boast of preventing sun damage between 8-10 hours. Others more cautiously advertise sun protection for up to 6 hours. There are certain caveats, however, that are noted by the manufacturers:

  • A generous amount (at least 1 ounce) should be applied for the whole body. An insufficient amount may affect the level of protection.
  • Sun exposure should be interspersed with periods of time spent in the shade, especially during the peak sun hours of 11am to 3pm, at which time sun protective clothing, hats and sunglasses should be worn.
  • Reapplication is necessary if towelling off, swimming, showering or perspiring heavily.

If you’re thinking the above all sound vaguely familiar, you’d be right. These basic sun smart tips are recommended regardless of which sunscreen you choose. Even once a day sunscreens are made with the understanding that they will decrease in effectiveness as time goes on. And as with other sunscreens, many factors affect protection: amount applied, contact with clothing and towels, unconsciously wiping the face, even washing the hands will have some slight effect in removing product.

At first glance, once a day sunscreens may sound like a brilliant way to make sun protection an easy and convenient part of your everyday routine, but they may in all reality lead to a false sense of security. In fact, the Australian government’s regulatory guidelines for sunscreens prohibits any labelling claims, such as “all day protection”, that imply that the product does not require application at regular intervals. The Cancer Council of Australia, the British Skin Foundation, the American Association of Dermatology and the Canadian Cancer Society still recommend that all sunscreen be reapplied at least every 2 hours and immediately after swimming, sweating or towelling off.

If you use and love a once a day sunscreen product, by all means continue doing so. While innovations and breakthroughs are routinely made with regards to sun protection, including sun filters that last longer and that can better resist degradation from water and UV exposure, we believe once a day sunscreens should for now be applied as you would any other.