Looking for the best reef safe sunscreen for sensitive skin to protect yourself and the ocean? These are our top picks.
Sunscreen began in the 1940s when an airman in World War II created the first-ever concoction to block UV radiation from the sun. Since then, sun lotion has undergone dozens of changes. The formula has changed as more companies come out with various attempts to include skin-safe chemicals and forego harmful ingredients.
However, some chemicals are still in modern sunscreens, and these chemicals can be harmful to the skin and the natural reefs in the ocean. Some of these chemicals can destroy coral reefs, cause breakouts on your face, and leave blotchy welts on your skin.
Finding the best reef safe sunscreen for sensitive skin or sunscreen for acne-prone skin may be challenging. However, dozens of options can keep sunburn at bay without sacrificing the wildlife and your complexion.
What Makes a Sunscreen Reef-Safe?
A sunscreen is reef-safe when it lacks some harmful chemicals to coral reefs and ocean life. Some of these chemicals include the following:
- 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor
- 3-Benzylidene camphor
Oxybenzone is the most harmful chemical in sunscreen because sea life will metabolize this chemical and produce a toxic compound that kills the coral reefs in the ocean. Although sunscreen goes on the body, it will wash off in the water and float in the sea until ocean life eats it, along with their food.
What Makes a Sunscreen Safe for Sensitive Skin?
Sunscreen for acne-prone skin or sensitive skin will use gentle and natural ingredients. Coconut oil, shea butter, and mineral powder like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are common ingredients in sunscreen for face protection.
However, these gentle ingredients don’t offer much natural UV protection. Thus, sunscreen for sensitive skin will likely not exceed 50 SPF, and you may have to apply more sunscreen every hour.
Although you will have to use more, the positive impact on the ocean and your skin is worth the frequent application.
The Best Reef Safe Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin & Face
The best reef-safe sunscreen for sensitive skin includes name brands, those who vow to protect the environment, and new companies that have a mission to create a more sustainable future. Many sunscreen producers have opted for natural herbs, ingredients, and mild chemicals that can protect against UV sun rays without causing damage to the ocean.
Most of the best reef safe sunscreen options have the ocean, sustainability, and health in mind.
Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen has SPF 30 coverage and lasts 80 minutes. This formula is sweat resistant and rubs onto the skin in invisible layers that don’t add a whitish finish. Babo Botanicals prides itself on being cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and contains herbs that aid in UV protection.
This Babo Botanicals sunscreen helps you maintain vibrant appearances without a greasy finish. This hypoallergenic formula is lightweight and enhanced with vitamins and nutrients that aid skin health.
Since it is only SPF 30, you will need to reapply frequently.
Stream2Sea is a company that boasts reef-safe products that are biodegradable. Stream2Sea sunscreen has SPF 30 coverage and uses non-toxic, plant-based ingredients. This formula is ideal for sensitive skin and uses green tea and olive leaf fusions to keep your skin youthful and vibrant.
This product has no reef-damaging ingredients and only contains high-quality vegan ingredients to protect your skin and the natural world. This formula is also fragrance-free and does not have harmful chemicals or parabens that can irritate the skin and cause rashes.
Black Girl Sunscreen creates sunscreen for people of color. Often, sunscreen isn’t made with people of color in mind. However, Black Girl Sunscreen recognizes this gap and addresses it with a high-quality product. This formula uses natural ingredients like avocado, jojoba, and cacao.
Each product from Black Girl Sunscreen is:
There are also no parabens or silicone ingredients in any product from Black Girl Sunscreen. This brand should be easy to find at any major retailers like Target, and good specialty stores for makeup, beauty, and pharmaceutical stores should also carry it.
Kokua Sun Care is a popular brand sold by many retailers, especially in Hawaii. This formula has natural zinc and claims to be a superfood for your skin. In addition to including seven vital antioxidants in its formula, Kokua Sun Care also lacks harmful chemicals and is baby safe.
This formula lacks phthalates, artificial scents, and parabens. With 80 minutes of coverage, this brand offers SPF 50 protections and rubs into your skin clear, without white streaks. This lightweight formula is ideal for daily use and protects against the harshest UV rays. It’s a great sunscreen for surfing, swimming, snorkeling, or just lazing around on the beach.
If you’re not a fan of the traditional sunblock smell, you will love this sunscreen’s light coconut vanilla scent.
All Good Sport Sunscreen SPF 30
All Good Sport Sunscreen has SPF 30 coverage and is dedicated to repairing and hydrating your skin as you wear it. This formula is lightweight, settles into your skin without streaks, and has a non-greasy finish, making it perfect for acne-prone skin. Additionally, All Good Sport Sunscreen uses minerals and vitamins to enhance its product and keep your face clean, healthy, and vibrant.
This sunscreen offers 80 minutes of protection before reapplication. All Good Sunscreen ensures that each product is cruelty-free, vegan, reef-friendly, and climate-neutral certified. All Good Sport Sunscreen is also women-owned.
Badger Clear is water-resistant and offers protection for up to 80 minutes with 40 SPF coverage. This broad-spectrum formula lacks harmful chemicals and is Protect Land + Sea certified. Badger Clear Zinc SPF 40 hydrates and protects skin and is ideal for a day-long excursion to the ocean, while surfing, or for lounging by the pool.
Badger Clear only contains four ingredients:
- Uncoated zinc oxide
- Organic sunflower oil
- Organic beeswax
- Vitamin E
Badger Clear uses sustainable containers, hypoallergenic formulas, and gluten-free ingredients and lacks fragrances.
Supergood! Unseen Sunscreen offers SPF 40 and prides itself on its clean chemical use and versatility for all skin types. This formula has a natural finish and no fragrance. Unseen Sunscreen is weightless and absorbs into the skin easily, leaving your face looking vibrant and young without white streaks.
Supergoop! uses an antioxidant-heavy formula that doesn’t rely on oils and settles into the skin without causing rashes, welts, or breakouts. This formula can add a layer of protection under primer to combat the aging effects of the sun.
Sunscreen can come in stick form, like a deodorant stick, making it easy to carry around in your bag. Blue Lizard offers sunscreen for sensitive skin with zinc oxide and SPF 50 coverage.
This sunscreen stick runs smoothly over the skin and dries quickly. While this coverage may not be enough for all-day protection, it can keep you from getting sunburnt and protect against the aging effects of the sun.
Sun Bum is famous in the sunscreen industry for being a natural alternative to mainstream sunscreen brands with harmful additives. Sun Bum Original offers SPF 50 coverage and lasts 80 minutes before a reapplication is needed. This sunscreen doesn’t include any perfumey fragrances and has limited ingredients that protect and revitalize your skin.
This formula is non-greasy and contains only vegan ingredients. Sun Bum Mineral is also cruelty-free and hypoallergenic.
REN Clean Screen Mineral Sunscreen has SPF 30 coverage and doesn’t contain any silicone. This option uses zinc oxide to protect against UV rays, remains cruelty-free and vegan, and uses recycled plastic in its packaging. Sensitive skin will benefit the most from this formula because it uses natural, clean ingredients that won’t cause rashes or acne breakouts.
This REN Clean Screen sun lotion protects against sunburn and skin damage from the sun. The rice starch in the formula also helps stop you from looking greasy while passionfruit extract helps keeps skin looking vibrant and flawless.
Final Thoughts – Best Reef Safe Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin
Protecting our oceans and your skin doesn’t have to cost you tons of money or time. Buying reef-safe sunscreen that won’t damage your skin and will keep breakouts at bay is simple. Varieties of reef-safe sunscreen are available online or on-site at plenty of easily accessible retailers.
With this list of the best reef-safe sunscreen for sensitive skin, you won’t have to go sifting through ingredient lists during your next sunscreen shop. All these options contain mild, environmentally-friendly ingredients that protect you while outdoors in the sun. Most of these options are vegan and fragrance-free, making them suitable for all lifestyles and skin types.
Consider trying a few options to keep yourself covered in case of a breakout, rash, or welts. Keep yourself from sunburns and the aging effects of the sun by using sunscreen often. With these brands and products, you’ll help keep your skin clean, hydrated, and happy.