The Best Ocean-Safe Sunscreens to Stock Up on This Summer
These formulas are good for your skin and the environment.
You want to protect your skin from the sun—and that means wearing sunscreen. But if you're going to be swimming at the beach, you also want to protect the ocean. To do so involves making sure that any sunscreen you put on your face or body is ocean-safe. Ocean-safe sunscreens help protect your skin from the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays, but what makes them different from other formulas is that they provide said protection without causing any harm or damage to the ocean, reefs, or marine life that may be swimming just beneath the surface. "Ocean-safe sunscreens don't contain chemicals or ingredients that are harmful to the ocean and its reefs," affirms Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, founder of Mudgil Dermatology.
The key to determining whether or not a sunscreen is ocean-safe is to look at the ingredient list. There are two chemicals in particular to be on the lookout for. "Look for sunscreens that don't contain oxybenzone or octinoxate," says Dr. Mudgil. Sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, and other chemicals are a no-go if you're planning to spend any time in the water. Instead of slathering your face and body with a chemical sunscreen, try a physical sunscreen, which is much more ocean- and reef-friendly. "Mineral sunscreens, which contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, are the best bet," he adds.
It's also important to make sure that while you're protecting the ocean, you're also making sure to properly protect your skin—and are getting a broad-spectrum sunscreen with (at least) SPF 30. Have a beach day coming up? Let's take a look at a few high-quality ocean-safe sunscreens that will protect both you and the ocean during your next swim.
Looking for an ocean-safe sunscreen that works double time as skincare? Give this one a try. In addition to providing broad spectrum sun protection, it's also formulated with antioxidant-rich green tea to fight free radical damage and a bio-active mushroom complex and argan oil to combat dryness. Both are so soothing after a long day in the sun.
Shop Now: Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense Sunscreen SPF 30, $54, ulta.com.
Here's a formula that's strong enough to protect your skin but gentle enough to use even on a baby. This mineral sunscreen from Shiseido uses the brand's exclusive WetForce technology, which helps to increase sun protection when exposed to water. Its hypoallergenic, tearless formula is safe for little ones over six months.
Shop Now: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce for Sensitive Skin and Children, $42, ulta.com.
If you're looking for a long-lasting, non-greasy sunscreen, you'll want to check out this sport lotion from Bare Republic. With 80 minutes of water-resistant protection, this lightweight coverage will give you the protection you want, without the greasy, "sunscreen-y" feeling you don't.
Shop Now: Bare Republic Mineral Sport Lotion SPF 30, $14.99, ulta.com.
Here's an option from a brand you'll always recognize: Banana Boat's Simply Protect line contains 25% fewer ingredients than conventional options and is formulated without oxybenzone or parabens.
Shop Now: Banana Boat Simply Protect Sensitive Skin SPF 50 Lotion, $11.99, walgreens.com.
Over the years, Supergoop! has gained a near cult-like following in the beauty and sun protection world—and this 100% mineral sunscreen lotion is one of their most beloved ocean-safe products.
Shop Now: Supergoop! Sunnyscreen™ 100% Mineral Lotion, $26, supergoop.com.
This gentle sun cream from Reef Repair is free from chemicals and is packed with soothing, natural ingredients like coconut oil, avocado oil, and shea butter. It's a great choice for more sensitive or dry skin types.
Shop Now: Reef Repair Sunscreen SPF 30+, $14.95, reefrepair.com.