The Best Sunscreen For Surfing And Beaches Are Reef Safe Sunscreens

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The sun’s up, summer is kicking in, and the beach is waiting. Summer vacation is something most of us look forward to having. Whether we will be engaging in various water activities or will just lie down on the fine beach sand, this means one thing: we get to spend a long time soaking under the rays of sunlight. While we enjoy these activities, we know we want the best sunscreen for our skin, and we must be using reef-safe sunscreen to protect the environment.

The Best Sunscreen is Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen


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Vacationers often bring a beach hat and a quick-drying towel with them while lounging on the seashore. But one thing that should always be on your bag is your supply of the best body sunscreen. It does not matter if it is considered the best sunscreen for surfing or the best sunscreen for your face; it must be good for the environment.

Best Sunscreen Comparision Chart

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Sunscreen Pollution: The Relation Between Sunscreen and Coral Reefs

coral reef

While the application of sunscreen is helpful to humans, some studies have shown that its ingredients are harmful to all marine life. Chemical compounds such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, and avobenzone are some of the most famous sunscreen ingredients known to kill coral reefs. Oxybenzone disrupts coral reef’s normal growth and development. Meanwhile, octinoxate causes coral bleaching. Avobenzone is believed to have the power to decrease coral resilience against the high ocean temperatures that are killing corals through global warming worldwide.

These compounds also have adverse side effects on us. Oxybenzone is a hazardous eye irritant and considered an allergen that can cause skin allergies. It can also affect estrogen production in women and testosterone production in men. Avobenzone is also an eye irritant and allergen. What makes it worse is that it breaks down just within 30 minutes of application. On the other hand, octinoxate can cause acne. Plus, some studies show that this chemical can also cause reproductive problems.

Our Recommended Reef Safe Sunscreens

Ready to hit the beach? Get your sunscreens prepared so you will stay protected from the sun. Do not forget to choose a reef-friendly sunscreen to ensure the safety of our coral reefs. Check out this best sunscreen for the face and body list before making your way to the nearest store.

The Best Sunscreen is Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen


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The Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is an affordable eco-friendly sunscreen designed by dermatologists. It comes with an SPF 30+ formula with zinc oxide. This provides users broad-spectrum protection from 97% of the sun’s burning rays. The Lizard sunscreen also has no skin-irritating chemical sunscreen ingredients ensuring you will only have pure enjoyment while at the beach. It is also paraben-free and fragrance-free, making it the best sunscreen lotion for sensitive skin. Is blue lizard sunscreen reef safe? Definitely! The product makers stand true to their word that their product does not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. You will see more evidence of how good this sunscreen is from various Blue Lizard sunscreen reviews online. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now.

MANDA Organic Sun Paste


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One of the best sunscreen lotions in the market is the MANDA organic sun paste. It is made with natural and organic ingredients, including coconut, shea butter, and thanaka, making it a reef-friendly sunscreen. The manufacturers take pride in using thanaka as it is a natural cosmetic used by Burmese people for over 2,000 years now. And with the application of thanaka, they do not need to use that much-mined mineral or zinc oxide with the product. Thanks to its SPF 50 formula, this is the best sun lotion for athletes, hikers, surfers, or anyone who loves taking in an adventure in or out of water. As one of the eco-friendly brands in the market, it uses bamboo packaging and recyclable tin, which you can use as storage for your other items. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now


Thinksport Sunscreen


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The Thinksport sunscreen is an SPF 50+ sunscreen perfect for athletes. Unlike other sunscreens, Thinksport does not have an obtrusive smell. Plus, it is a non-greasy sunscreen that absorbs quickly, leaving you with no oily feeling after application. This is a guaranteed reef-safe sunscreen as it has no harmful chemicals like avobenzone, oxybenzone, paraben, phthalate, and others. It is also budget-friendly. The best thing about it is that this sunscreen is consistently top-rated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) since 2010, which makes it one of the best sunscreens for surfing. Furthermore, it is the first ocean-safe sunscreen to pass the standards of Whole Foods Premium Care. This just means that Thinksport is one of the best suntan lotions in the market. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now.


Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen


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Another eco-friendly sunscreen on the list is Sun Bum. This sunscreen has a beautiful scent of summer and perfect for everyday use. With its SPF 50 formula, you can have peace of mind knowing that you will truly be protected from prolonged sun exposure. Do not worry about getting acne, as this is a non-comedogenic sunscreen. Aside from protecting users from UVA/UVB radiation, the reef-safe sunscreen Sun Bum also boasts of being full of Vitamin E. Is Sun Bum reef safe? Absolutely! This budget sunscreen claims that it is free from oxybenzone and octinoxate. This sunscreen also does not contain paraben or gluten. If you are looking for cruelty-free sunscreen, then this is the ideal choice for you. The Sun Bum reef safe sunscreen is also vegan-friendly. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now.


All Good Organic Sunscreen Butter


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An EWG top-rated coral safe sunscreen—that is what the All Good Organic Sunscreen Butter is. It boasts of being able to meet the broad-spectrum FDA standards and reef safe criteria. Whether you engage in extreme water sports or be in a high elevation environment, you can be sure to receive ultimate protection from this zinc-based sunscreen. This best sunscreen has natural ingredients like coconut oil and jojoba oil, making the product easy to blend. It is also ideal for those with sensitive skin as it will not clog your pores and is a non-greasy face sunscreen. And since an eco-friendly company produces it, the packaging is made in a handy dandy portable tin. It is within the mid-range price point, so it’s still a good buy. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now.


Banana Boat Sunscreen Spray



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If you are looking for the best sunscreen spray, Banana Boat is a great product. This reasonably priced sunscreen comes in an easy-grip spray can. Just twist, lock, and spray. This reef-safe sunscreen spray is free from oxybenzone and octinoxate. Have peace of mind enjoying under the heat of the sun without the risk of harming marine life. It is not only for those who are going for a beach vacation. This is one of the best sunscreen sprays for those who have an active lifestyle. Use this environmentally friendly sunscreen on your trip to the mountains, if you will play sports, or just wherever you go. It is clinically proven to give users UVA/UVB protection. Moreover, its quick-absorbing formula makes sure you will not feel irritated upon application. It even ensures resistance against sweat and water for up to 80 minutes. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now.


Coola Mineral Suncare


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A sunscreen for oily skin? The Coola Mineral Tinted Sunscreen is what you have been looking for! This sunscreen SPF 30 for oily skin gives the ultimate protection with no white spots left on the skin. It has a matte finish ensuring you retain your fresh look. This chemical-free sunscreen comes with rosehip seed oil which is a natural form of Vitamin C. With rosehip seed oil alone, you can be sure to have a brighter and smoother skin tone and texture. This sunblock for oily skin or combination also has plankton extract and shea butter, and both are good for the skin. Coola is a Hawaii-approved sunscreen, and so are all of their products. You will get it at an average price. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now.


Alba Botanica Sport Mineral Sunscreen


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If you are in the market for the best natural sunscreen for sensitive skin, the Alba Botanica Sport Mineral Sunscreen is the product for you. This sunscreen is so good, the Skin Cancer Foundation even recommends it. It comes with SPF 45 formula and has water resistance capabilities for up to 80 minutes. Rest assured, you will get broad-spectrum protection from this sunscreen. It is made with botanical ingredients such as aloe leaf juice and Ginkgo Biloba leaf, making it one of the best lightweight sunscreen selections. Also, this inexpensive coral reef-safe sunscreen uses a reef-friendly formula of 100% vegetarian ingredients. Since it is an eco-friendly sunscreen, you can be sure that their products are not tested on animals. It is certified by the Leaping Bunny Program cruelty-free certification program. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now.


Raw Elements Eco Form Sunscreen


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Raw Elements sunscreen boasts a gentle, moisturizing formula. Even the kids can use it regularly. This bang for the buck sunscreen is easy to apply, and water resistance lasts up to 80 minutes. Get broad-spectrum protection with its SPF 30+ formula. This sunscreen is eco-friendly, guaranteeing that the product’s ingredients only use antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Indeed, your skin will stay protected all day long. The developers are dedicated to creating a positive impact globally, thus, the birth of this ecologically friendly sunscreen. You can be sure to get the best reef-safe sunscreens from their company. They even started World Reef Day to promote awareness about the importance of the ocean’s coral reefs. Bring home their sunscreen in eco-friendly bags and packaging that are entirely recyclable, reusable, compostable, or plastic-free. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now


Coral Safe Mineral Sunscreen


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A recommended mineral-based reef-safe sunscreen in the market is the Coral Safe Mineral Sunscreen. Whether you need a face sunscreen for oily skin, sensitive skin, or dry skin, this is the product to buy. Thanks to its chemical-free, all-natural, and effective formula, all ages can use this sunscreen. This biodegradable sunscreen is also guaranteed reef safe. You can be sure that this is an oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreen. Its SPF 30 solution brings high broad-spectrum UVA and UVB sunblock protection. Re-apply after 80 minutes if needed. But rest assured that this reasonably priced sunscreen keeps the UV rays away from your skin all day long. Click here to see details and price info on Amazon now.


What Is Sunscreen?


Sunlight exposure has health benefits such as strengthening our bones and our immune system. Plus, it can help reduce your stress and improve your sleep. But do you know that sunlight exposure can also have harmful effects?

The sun emits rays of light, and these are called Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. No one can see UV rays, but they can penetrate directly to our skin. Sun exposure may be helpful to our health, but too much of it can also put us at risk.

In just 15 minutes, you can receive a sunburn from just being exposed to intense sunlight. There may also be long-term effects such as aging of the skin or having a leathery look. Prolonged sun exposure can also lead to dehydration and, in extreme cases, heatstroke.

This is where sunscreen comes into the picture. Using the best lotion, sunscreen is created to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Sunscreen application prevents sunburn and premature aging. Furthermore, it minimizes the risk of skin cancer and sun sensitivity, which may result from some medications.

How Sunscreen Works?

water sports

Sunscreen has two ingredients: physical and chemical particles. The physical blockers can be in the form of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These minerals are crushed into fine particles. They stay on the skin’s surface and block UV rays on the skin. On the other hand, the chemical absorbers develop a thin protective film that takes in UV radiation before it enters the skin.

How Long Does Sunscreen Lasts?

sunscreen for surfers

The amount of time the sunscreen can protect your skin depends on its Sun Protection Factor (SPF) ratings. SPF is a measurement of how well and how long the sunscreen can protect the skin from UVB radiation. Meanwhile, PA, followed by plus signs, is a rating system that determines how much UVA protection a sunscreen offers. UVA rays do not cause that much pain, but they penetrate deeply into the skin and can lead to immediate sunburn. While there may be delayed sunburning in UVB rays, exposure to this radiation can contribute to premature aging and even skin cancer.



Keep the Coral Reefs Safe

marine life

Coral reefs are diverse and vital ecosystems on Earth. They support 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals, and hundreds of other types of species. They also play a vital role in the fishing and tourism industries. Furthermore, a lot of new drugs are now being developed from coral reef animals and plants. Experts are looking into the possibility of these medicines as a cure for arthritis, cancer, human bacterial infections, and other diseases.

One simple way you can do to protect coral reefs is to use reef-safe sunscreen products. Wondering what is reef safe sunscreen? These are sunscreen without oxybenzone and avobenzone, and other types of harmful chemicals. Make sure to choose a sunscreen that is eco-friendly and doesn’t contain the said harmful ingredients.

Beyond the reef safe label, go for those sunscreens that are mineral-based. These coral reef-safe sunscreens are made with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The particles of these ingredients stay on top of the skin and prevent harmful UV rays from entering your skin. The best suntan creams are labeled as “non-nano,” meaning that the particles in the sunscreen are bigger than 100 nanometers. Thus, these particles wouldn’t be ingested by coral reefs because they are too large. Moreover, these ingredients are less harmful and not associated with coral bleaching.


Have Fun While Keeping The Coral Reefs Safe


The next time you go to the beach, keep the coral reefs and all marine life in mind. The best sunscreen for surfing and all water sports must protect all marine life. As mentioned, these ecosystems play a vital role in Earth. We can do our part in preserving them by making sure only to use sunscreen safe for coral reefs. What makes a sunscreen reef safe? If it’s an oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreen, then it’s considered reef friendly! Please read the label to check the product’s ingredients and ensure that it is indeed a safe sunscreen for coral reefs. Make your shopping easier by taking note of the reef-safe sunscreen brands we’ve listed.


This article contains affiliate links. If you purchase through any of these links, I will make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

By Sally Pederson

Sally is a semi-nomadic traveler. She is the owner of Luxurious Lifestyles – an award winning blog and resource for luxury travelers. Additionally, she is also the owner of Jet Setter Pet Sitter - a blog and resource for independent travelers that love pets.


  1. This is good to know. I did not realize there are quite a few to consider when choosing the right sunscreen. Thank you for sharing. I definitely learned something new today.

  2. wow..a lovely reviews sharing about sunscreen you have shared here. am a must apply sunscreen before going outdoor, have been using a few brand from your list now, will check out others. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  3. This is very important information and it brought a smile to my face knowing that there are others who care about the coral reef system as much as I do. Thank you for this!

  4. Wow, I didn’t know that sunscreen and coral reefs had a relationship and I didn’t know they affect each other. I learned something new!

  5. We always use reef safe sunscreens. A lot of places we visit have banned regular sunscreens as well. It is nice to protect the environment.

  6. I’m a beginner when it comes to sunscreen, I’m usually in doors most of the times so I don’t really pay much attention to sunscreen but I appreciate your list, at list I now know what to look for.

  7. It’s summer here and a perfect time for beach activities. I think I’ve seen the Banana Boat brand available here.

  8. Thank you for bringing this topic to my attention. I haven’t considered the marine life/coral reef factor when purchasing sunscreen, but I will from now on.

  9. I did no know that sun scream may damage the reef and other living creatures underneath the seas. I will definitely go with environment-friendly sun screen

  10. Sunscreen is so important. I use the brand my dermatologist recommends and I love how it stays on when swimming

  11. Seems like BLUE LIZARD Australian Sunscreen is the way to go in terms of protecting yourself from harmful UV and still being environmentally friendly, especially to the coral reefs or other marine life.

  12. I didn’t know that sunscreen could be harmful to marine life! I didn’t grow up using sunscreen as a child so I am still learning as I use it now. I will have to check out some of these brands. Thanks!

  13. Love this list! Thanks for reminding us that our sunscreen must be reef-safe! I love surfing and I really miss it.

  14. My youngest daughter and I have to be careful with sunscreen. She has to have a certain kind because of her eczema. I burn easily, so I know I need to apply it often. I’ll have to try that one for sensitive skin and see how well it works.

  15. Saving this post for the next time I shop for sunscreen. I don’t like the idea of harming the coral reefs so I am going to choose a reef-safe sunscreen next time I buy.

  16. Summer vacation does get the memories back. Never knew that sunscreen can harm the biodiversity as bought out by you and the reef safe sunscreen are indeed a welcome change to be adopted while heartedly

  17. These are great recommendations. I love using products that can protect my skin from the sun and not harmful to the environment.

  18. With the harmful UV rays sunscreen are the best defense we can use. Thank you for the list of brands you mentioned here.

  19. Thanks for reminding and recommending, I agree, we should also be mindful of the environment too!

  20. Oh nice, I do have some of these, so this makes me feel better. I always want to stay safe in the sun.

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