Sunscreen & A Day At The Pool

Categories: Sunscreen
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poolLast weekend my boyfriend and I took a little mini-vacation, and stayed at the new Palazzo hotel here in Las Vegas. One of my absolute favorite activities is to hang out by the pool, which is an unfortunate past-time to enjoy, considering my obsession with staying out of the sun as much as possible. Since we were on “vacation” I figured it was an excuse to be at the pool all day, plus I could try out some sunscreens extensively. I feel like a hypocrite, because I was just promoting the Road To Healthy Skin Tour and skin cancer prevention, but I’m also human, and like to have fun.

It was about 84 degrees that day, and we were at the pool from 12:30pm-5pm (the time you are supposed to completely avoid the sun). The UV index was probably 8 or 9 that day. I managed to not get any freckles whatsoever on my face, get no sunburn at all, and almost no tan.

The Hard Rock Hotel
The last time I spent this long at the pool was when I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel a few years ago, and I spent about the same amount of time at the pool, and it was also about the same temperature/UV rating. That time I got back to the room, and had a face full of freckles, and my face and body was tanned and slightly burned. At the Hard Rock Hotel I used sunscreen that had Avobenzene as its main ingredient, and I am convinced that ingredient just doesn’t work well to combat the sun. I reapplied once an hour, wore a hat and big sunglasses.

The other thing I did that time was go in the pool for about a half hour, and even though I was using a waterproof sunscreen, some of it could have washed away in the water. Water also magnifies the sun’s rays, making the sun even stronger.

The Palazzo Hotel
I was amazed when I got back to my room and didn’t have any extra freckles on my face after a day at the pool. This never ever used to happen in the past! I freckle extremely easily. On my face, every two hours I applied the UV Natural zinc oxide-based sunscreen I recently reviewed. Amazingly, even though it has Grape Seed Oil as one of its main ingredients (a pore clogger), I have not had any breakouts from this sunscreen, and I am very prone to acne. I still wouldn’t necessarily recommend this sunscreen to people that have acne or oily skin, but I’ve personally had no problems with it. When I wear this on a day-to-day basis, I apply powder foundation over it, which takes away the shine, and leaves my skin looking hydrated, but not shiny. The only problem with this sunscreen at the pool is that it leaves your skin extremely shiny, which attracts the sun. I took some pictures of myself, and my face looked like an oil slick without powder on. It’s so shiny that I think it can magnify the sun’s rays (maybe I’m just being paranoid), but I think a matte version of this sunscreen would be even more effective.

I also wore big sunglasses (I now want huge wraparound sunglasses), and a baseball hat at the pool. I also sat in the shade most of the time, and covered my face part of the time by putting a towel on my head. My boyfriend thinks I’m a freak.

On my body I used La Roche-Posay Anthelios W Gel SPF 40, which I bought last year for my face, but it made my face breakout horribly (I only get breakouts on my face). I couldn’t find the expiration date on the sunscreen, so I chanced it (again a bad idea). I just found the expiration date now, and it says 12/07. Ugh. Definitely check the expiration date on your sunscreen, and don’t use it past the expiration date. I applied this sunscreen every two hours also, and I got a slight tan, and very slightly red after the day at the pool. I still have a hunch that Zinc Oxide is a better sunscreen ingredient that Mexoryl, but given the fact this sunscreen was expired, it wasn’t a fair competition for the Mexoryl.

I didn’t go in the water at all because it was freezing, and I spent half the day covered in sweatpants and towels, and sitting in the shade, so that was my way of being at the pool, but not really getting the full effect of the sun. My next test will be to actually go swimming to see if any sunscreens can survive the pool! I also want to test more Zinc Oxide-based sunscreens against each other.

In the end, no sunscreen is 100% protection from the sun, which is why I generally stay out of the sun completely. But after this non-scientific pool experiment, I am even more convinced than ever that Zinc Oxide-based sunscreens are definitely the way to go.

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10 Responses to “Sunscreen & A Day At The Pool”

  1. Lauren Says:

    you’re completely right… avobenzone and mexoryl sunscreens break down in sunlight. it happens because they convert the UV rays into heat, but they can only do that for so long before the chemicals become “exhausted”. but zinc on the other hand reflects and scatters the UV light (kinda like a mirror) and so it doesnt break down, it can only get rubbed off. Avobenzone is a really unstable filter in this respect, but the good thing is that, while its still “working”, it works really well. it just runs out of gas quickly, which is why you got freckling. other filters like octocrylene help avobenzone last longer, but still only for a few hours. the filter octinoxate on the other hand, makes avobenzone break down even faster.. which really sucks because that means you have to reapply like every 30 minutes if it has octinoxate. But yeah, in my experience zinc is very gentle and very effective. My favorite is the shiseido SPF 55 cream, it has 14% zinc and 7% octinoxate. Good post though, I love hearing other people’s thoughts on sunscreens

  2. Kristina Says:

    Other than the shiseido, which sunscreens have zinc oxide? I’ve perused the entire sunscreen section of target several times and have not seen one that has zinc oxide. I too prefer the zinc oxide and use the shiseido 55+ face cream on my face and neck but for the price whole body application makes me a little ill. I live in Florida and spend a lot of time in the sun. I always get tan (except on my face!) I want to be ONE color and definitly lessen my risk of sun cancer.

  3. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    Since avobenzene is not photo-stable, when I’ve used it in the past, I reapplied once an hour, but even that wasn’t enough to keep from getting burned. It’s ridiculous! There’s also speculation that avobenzene creates free radicals, so it causes skin damage while it’s “protecting” you. The Shiseido is my favorite sunscreen too. I just feel uneasy bringing it to the pool with me since it’s so expensive, and I tend to not use as much as I should.

  4. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    The problem with drugstore sunscreens is that they don’t contain Zinc Oxide, or if they do, it’s in super small percentages. The only decent sunscreen I’ve seen at the drugstore is by Blue Lizard, and you can get it at CVS, or These are some other good Zinc Oxide sunscreens: . I need to keep looking to find more affordable Zinc Oxide sunscreens.

  5. Lauren Says:

    yeah the blue lizard brand is the only economical zinc-based one Ive found at the drugstore. its heavy-feeling and kind of whitening, but you could use that on your body, but save the shiseido for your face. Yeah Ive heard about the avobenzone creating free radicals, its kind of scary. I guess you could use an antioxidant serum under it or find an avo.-based sunscreen with antioxidants in it to help cut down on any damage.. but it seems like more harm than its worth

  6. Shannon Says:

    I just bought DHC’s White Sunscreen, SPF 25, which has 10% zinc oxide. It’s $18 for 1 fl ounce on their site ( It is supposed to brighten your complexion and fade spots (without hydroquione or however you spell it) – it uses alpha-arbutin as the brighener/lightener. I just started using their products, and like them alot so far. I am hoping this sunscreen also helps in fading some hyperpigmentation.

  7. Sara Says:

    I am so completely jealous that you got a day at the pool. And yes, it is bad for your skin, but does wonders for you mental health. I’m curious to know more about DHC’s White Sunscreen. Has anyone else tried it?

  8. Karmen Says:

    Do you know what effects it has on the strength of the sunscreens when I use the Shiseido first and then layer on a foundation that also has SPF?
    Can layering sunscreen weaken the product?


  9. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    This is the question I’m always wondering to myself, but I’ve never really seen a good answer to this question! I don’t think putting your foundation on over the sunscreen can weaken it, but I’m always paranoid the foundation somehow removes some of the sunscreen (and ends up on your hands or brush). I usually mix some foundation with the sunscreen, and apply it that way, but I don’t know if this is better or worse.

    The reason I like high SPF sunscreens is because if some of the sunscreen wears off, it’s still okay because you’ve started with such a high SPF. The best thing is to probably apply an ample amount of sunscreen, and then wait a few minutes. Then apply your foundation over it. The other reason I like zinc oxide sunscreens is because they don’t break down in the sun like most sunscreen ingredients. When I put my sunscreen on in the morning, I don’t want to reapply my makeup a few hours later if I’m not really in the sun much.

  10. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    I haven’t tried that sunscreen but its ingredients look pretty good (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreen ingredients). Here are reviews of it on Makeup Alley:

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