Realistic sunscreen durability: A randomized, double-blinded, controlled clinical study

Hao Ouyang, Karen Meyer, Prithwiraj Maitra, Susan Daly, Ryan M. Svoboda, Aaron S. Farberg, Darrell S. Rigel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Studies show that sunscreen under real-life conditions is often not reapplied and/or applied insufficiently. This study investigated the durability of 2 current sunscreens with different SPF protection over an 8-hour period under simulated real-life conditions. Methods: Participants (n=24) were randomized into two study groups utilizing either 2 mg/cm2 (FDA testing concentration) or 1 mg/cm2 (real-life application levels) of sunscreen. Two current SPF 15 and 70 sunscreens were applied to test spots on each participant's back. SPF values were obtained at baseline, 3.5, and 8 hours after initial application, during which subjects completed 30 minutes of moderate exercise followed by 80 minutes of water exposure. Results: Participants in both dose study groups revealed only a 15-40% overall decrease in their SPF protection 8 hours after application. The study group that received half the FDA test concentration of sunscreen achieved approximately half or less the labeled SPF. At 8 hours, the test sites that received SPF 70 maintained an average SPF greater than 64 (2 mg/cm2 application) and 26 (1 mg/cm2 application). Similarly, the SPF 15 product test sites revealed an in vivo protection of 13 (2 mg/cm2) and 7 (1 mg/cm2). Conclusion: This study demonstrates that current sunscreens may be durable on skin even following significant exercise and water exposure, suggesting that reapplication intervals may be longer than currently recommended. In addition, the higher SPF sunscreen maintained a skin cancer-protective level of SPF following extended use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-117
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Drugs in Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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