Gain or loss? Sunscreen efficiency after cosmetic pretreatment of the skin

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(2):82-9. doi: 10.1159/000351549. Epub 2013 Sep 19.


Sunscreens are a key pillar of the multimodal protection strategy against short- and long-term impacts of intermittent and continuous UV exposure. Hitherto, an unanswered part of current scientific discourse is the question whether a cosmetic pretreatment has an impact on distribution and adhesiveness of sunscreens on the skin and therefore affects UV protection. In order to evaluate the homogeneity of sunscreen filter distribution, water resistance as a parameter of adhesiveness and effective UV protection of sunscreens after a pretreatment with cream or lotion was investigated in 18 volunteers who were examined before and after swimming, using the established combination of the tape stripping procedure and UV/VIS spectroscopy. It was shown that a cosmetic skin pretreatment affects neither filter homogeneity nor effective UV protection prior to water contact. However, compared to nonpretreated skin, a considerable loss of water resistance is caused. Therefore, using a cream or lotion before application of sunscreens is not to be recommended.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Absorption
  • Skin Cream / administration & dosage*
  • Skin Cream / chemistry
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Sunscreening Agents / chemistry
  • Water / chemistry
  • Young Adult


  • Sunscreening Agents
  • Water