Reef Safe Sunscreen on Amazon: The Ultimate Guide

It certainly can seem like a daunting task to pick a sunscreen that checks all the boxes. Is it waterproof? The right SPF? Reasonably priced?

But if you’re swimming in the islands, there’s one more question you need to consider: is this a reef safe sunscreen?

Why You Need Reef Safe Sunscreen

Your sunscreen may be hard at work protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. But odds are it’s also damaging the environment. A majority of suntan lotions contain harmful ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate. These common UV-blocking chemicals are detrimental to our ecosystem – most specifically, to coral reefs.

Reefs support a vast underwater ecosystem, and they support our life on land. Our reefs are a major defense mechanism against the harmful effects of storms and hurricanes. They protect our coastlines, help prevent erosion, and bring jobs, food, and steady income to local economies.

When we slather sunscreen onto our skin and venture into the ocean, we’re carrying those harmful chemicals with us. These chemicals then wash off into the water. They strip our corals of their nutrients. That damages their DNA and hinders their development, often leading to bleaching and even death.

For all of those important reasons, the USVI legislature unanimously passed, and Gov. Bryan signed, act 8185 in 2019 which banned the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing the “toxic 3 Os” of oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene.

Choosing the Right Reef Safe Sunscreen for You

So how do you know if a sunscreen is both safe for you and the environment? We’ve gone ahead and highlighted the 5 top reef safe, eco friendly suntan lotions on Amazon.

1. Best Overall Reef Safe Sunscreen: Thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+

Best Reef Safe Sunscreen - ThinksportThinksport Sunscreen has it all. Major sun protection abilities. Free of biologically toxic chemicals. Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Absorbed seamlessly by the skin. If that doesn’t convince you, this will: it manages to avoid that overpowering smell that many organic sunscreens have.

Why We Like It

  • Mineral based formula
  • Water resistant
  • Non-oily feel
  • Animal cruelty free

2. Premium Choice Reef Safe Sunscreen: Kokua Sun Care SPF 50/80

Premium Reef Safe Sunscreen - KokuaBoth non-toxic and eco-friendly, this product contains no coral reef toxic ingredients. It also provides impressive UVA and UVB protection. It’s formulated with 23 natural antioxidants that provide a nourishing and moisturizing feel on your skin. All the ingredients are sustainably sourced.

Why We Like It

  • Water resistant
  • Contains 25% non-pano particles of zinc oxide
  • Prevents the action of free radicals
  • Light enough for everyday use

3. Great Value Reef Safe Sunscreen: Badger – SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream

Best Value Reef Safe Sunscreen - BadgerBudget conscious about your sunscreen? You can’t beat Badger. Manufactured in the USA by a family-owned company, this biodegradable suntan lotion doesn’t contain any chemicals shown to harm coral life. It contains only 5 ingredients: clear zinc oxide, organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, sunflower vitamin E, and organic sea buckthorn extract.

Why We Like It

  • Hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic & fragrance free
  • Broad spectrum
  • Contains no dyes, parabens, or other artificial ingredients
  • Suitable for sensitive skin

4. Best Reef Safe Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin: PURITO Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF 50+

Sensitive Skin Reef Safe Sunscreen - CentellaThe perfect match for those with sensitive skin. This lotion contains no essential oils and is fragrance free. It uses SPF50+ PA++++ and photo stable UV filter to provide soft, yet solid protection from UV rays. PURITO also uses recycled paper packaging and donates a part of its profits in order to spread awareness about environmental issues and help fund eco-projects.

Why We Like It

  • Vegan, cruelty and paraben free
  • Safe ingredients for all skin types
  • Skin brightening + anti-wrinkle
  • No white-cast or stickiness

5. Best Reef Safe Sunscreen for Watersports: All Good Sport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 30

Watersports Reef Safe Sunscreen - All GoodThis product was formulated with active adults in mind, making it a great choice for watersports. It contains 12% non-nano zinc oxide particles, ensuring it won’t leave white streaks on your skin while offering a broad spectrum SPF 30 UVA and UVB protection.

Why We Like It

  • Vegan, coral-reef friendly, biodegradable, and gluten-free
  • Water resistant up to 80 minutes
  • Non-greasy, lightweight formula
  • Contains organic green tea, rose hips, and buriti oil for repairing damaged skin

Reef Safe Sunscreen Identification Tips

Still feel like you haven’t found your match?

Here’s the good news: the search for a reliable sun care product doesn’t have to be difficult. Just keep these points in mind when you’re evaluating a sunscreen:

  • The only reef safe sunscreens are those containing non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Terms like “reef-safe” or “reef-friendly” are typically used to identify sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two common UV-blocking chemicals. But it never hurts to check the ingredient label just to be sure!
  • Pay attention to packaging. Eco-friendly products usually contain recycled material, material that can be easily recycled, or material gathered from a natural source.
  • Remember: Eco-friendly products don’t just avoid reef damage. They often avoid additional toxic chemicals, too. It’s good for the environment – and good for you.

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