What’s The Best Sunscreen For Kayaking?

Kayaking sessions can often keep you on the water for hours – risking a nasty sunburn from both the sky and the glare off the water. These are our top picks for best sunscreen for kayaking to keep your skin healthy and happy!

Kayaking is a thrilling experience and can offer exercise, relaxation, and adventure. However, kayaking can give you a nasty sunburn when you don’t have the proper protection. Kayaking can mean falling out of your boat, so choosing a sunscreen that will protect you and the natural coral reefs is vital.

There are dozens of options for sunscreen. Some sunscreen brands target dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin, and others offer inclusive sunscreen for people of color.

In addition to sunscreen, you can use additional gear to protect your skin from getting a sunburn and your eyes from sun damage. Most kayaking routes will have shade from shoreside trees, but the region of your adventure will impact which sunscreen you need. For example, you may not require as much SPF if you are in a shady area with plenty of coverage.

best sunscreen for kayaking

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Why Is Sunscreen Important?

Sunscreen is vital for keeping your skin and body healthy. Sun exposure can cause skin cancer, but where sunscreen can reduce the risk of this disease developing. Daily use of a light SPF 15 sunscreen can retain your skin’s moisture and keep it healthy while preventing aging effects.

You should use sunscreen, even if you don’t get regular sunburns. When outside for a period, you should use SPF 30 or SPF 50 sunscreen to keep yourself healthy and safe.

Reapply sunscreen every 80 to 90 minutes can prevent aging effects, sunburns, or dermatological issues.

What Type of Sunscreen Is The Best For Kayaking?

The best type of sunscreen uses minimal ingredients, keeps your skin hydrated and healthy, and doesn’t contribute to poor ocean life conditions. Many sunscreen products and brands contain harmful chemicals that destroy the coral reefs and hurt ocean life. These chemicals include oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Oxybenzone is the biggest contributor to damage to coral reefs. Wildlife and the ocean-dwelling creatures will eat oxybenzone from the water and create a toxic chemical that erodes the coral reefs.

Always check the ingredient label on your sunscreen to ensure that the product doesn’t contain harmful ingredients.

The Best Sunscreen For Kayaking

Kayaking began in Greenland and became a common form of transportation for Alaskan natives. Kayaking is a nearly ancient hobby, mode of transportation, and watersport. Having the proper equipment and sunscreen when going on your kayaking adventure is vital. The right sunscreen for you might be crafted with minimal ingredients or natural remedies.

Our top picks focus on those that will provide the best hydration and protection for your skin – without damaging the ocean.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 55

As a well known and trusted brand (that’s also highly affordable) Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion offers coverage for dry skin and goes on smooth and invisible.

The formula is lightweight and gives a broad range of sun coverage. You will have to apply another coat of this formula after 80 minutes, but this formula is water-resistant, and won’t leave you feeling sticky and gross like many of the other sunscreens out there.

The Ultra Sheer Dry Touch lacks oxybenzone and has minimal ingredients that will not hurt the coral reefs for ocean life. Any swimmer with dry skin will enjoy the hydrating effects of this formula, which offers a vibrant, non-greasy look.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 50+

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen was created with the coral reefs and the ocean in mind. This formula forgoes oxybenzone or harmful chemicals that damage wildlife or coral reefs while protecting your skin. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is dermatologically recommended to offer broad-spectrum protection with SPF 50+.

You will need to reapply this sunscreen after 40 minutes, but it is water-resistant and contains no fragrances and parabens. This formula doesn’t include many ingredients and relies on zinc oxide for sun protection.

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 is famous for being hypoallergenic, reef-safe, cruelty-free, and vegan. This sunscreen lotion contains plenty of vitamin E, which helps repel free radicals and prevent the aging effects of the sun.

There are only a few ingredients in this product, and it is mineral-based, offering a formula that glides on easily, leaves no streaks, and promotes healthy skin. It’s also vegan and not tested on animals.

This sunscreen is water-resistant and can cover your skin for 80 minutes before reapplication.

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen SPF 60

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen with SPF 60 is ideal for sensitive skin. This formula is water and sweat-resistant but must be reapplied every 80 minutes. Aveeno offers broad-spectrum coverage and doesn’t include oxybenzone or dyes that can be harmful to coral reefs and skin.

This formula goes on quickly, easily, and melts into the skin. Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen won’t leave streaks or a greasy finish.

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 is one of the best sunscreen options on the market. This sunscreen is reef safe and keeps your skin protected from the aging effects of the sun. This formula uses clean chemicals and can keep all skin types hydrated, clean, and vibrant.

This formula is invisible on the skin and leaves no streaks or unnatural shine on the skin. it can also be used under makeup to give your skin an added layer of protection against the sun’s rays.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In SPF 60

best sunscreen for kayaking
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt In Milk Body & Face Sunscreen SPF 60

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In SPF 60 offers plenty of coverage for sun exposure. Reapply with this sunscreen after 80 minutes. This water-resistant formula has plenty of antioxidants to keep your skin healthy and happy, even after spending several hours in the sun.

This sunscreen lotion forgoes harsh chemicals like octinoxate and oxybenzone and can be applied to your body and face. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In SPF 60 melts into your skin, leaves no streaks and doesn’t leave a greasy finish.

EleVen Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35

EleVen Unrivaled Sun Serum with SPF 35 is a product from a brand by Venus Williams, the world-famous tennis player (who obviously knows a lot about being out in the sun!).

This lightweight formula has minimal ingredients and offers coverage with people of color in mind. This serum sinks into the skin smoothly and quickly.

This serum is vegan and reef-safe, with zinc oxide as the primary ingredient. This product can be used daily to create healthy, stunning, and hydrated skin. EleVen Unrivaled Sun Serum also uses coconut fruit extract, which keeps skin shiny.

Pipette SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen

Pipette’s SPF 50 sunscreen lotion is safe for babies, kids – and you! It’s cruelty-free, plant-derived, and has no synthetic ingredients. This formula is mineral-based and has one mission: to protect your skin. This mineral sunscreen uses natural ingredients and does not rely on oxybenzone or octinoxate to offer broad-spectrum coverage.

Pipette SPF 50 applies smoothly and blends into the skin without leaving a greasy finish or streaks. This formula uses renewable resources like sugar cane to offer vibrant, healthy, and rich skin.

Other Considerations For Kayaking

You may need other equipment when going on your kayaking adventure to keep your skin healthy. Exposure to the sun can lead to photoaging, which can cause skin cancer. Keeping the sun away from your eyes and face can help prevent skin cancer, photoaging, and wrinkles caused by sun damage.

Exposure to the sun ages the skin, but with some protection, you can keep your face and skin healthy, young, and thriving.

Sun Hat

A wide-brimmed sun hat can offer coverage for your face, neck, shoulders, and upper body. Using a sun hat means that you will not suffer from sunburn if you miss the window to reapply your sunscreen. Use a sun hat in tandem with a targeted, water-resistant sunscreen lotion to get the most out of your kayaking adventure.

Have one handy when you go kayaking to ensure that your skin stays vibrant, and healthy, and doesn’t suffer the aging effects of the sun.


Sunglasses can protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes. Sunscreen is vital to ensuring you don’t have strange tan lines around your eyes, but sunglasses will protect your irises from losing any sharpness or focus due to the sun’s rays.

Overexposure to the sun can cause blurry vision, sensitivity, and in some extreme cases, blindness. Find a pair of polarizing, true-color sunglasses that will maintain the world around you without compromising the health of your eyes.

Final Thoughts – Best Sunscreen For Kayaking

Kayaking offers a fun and thrilling adventure, but you will need the proper equipment, sunscreen, and information to make the most of your trip. Depending on the location of your adventure, you may need more or less SPF. You may also require sunscreen for dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin. There are also plenty of sunscreen options formulated for people of color.

When you’re trying to decide on the best sunscreen for kayaking, consider what you need from your sunscreen and decide which sunscreen option on our list is right for you and your needs. Kayaking may also require that you bring additional coverage like a sun hat or sunglasses.

The best sunscreen options are those that keep you protected, healthy, and safe without damaging the ocean’s coral reefs. Always check your sunscreen products for harmful products like oxybenzone and other chemicals that destroy the coral reefs and harm ocean life.

With some trial and error, you can find the perfect sunscreen product that can keep you from getting burnt and protect the ocean at the same time.

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