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Reef Safe Sunscreen


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I am looking for recommendations for reef-safe sunscreen before my upcoming cruise. I try to use as little as possible anyway (wear a long-sleeved sun shirt and only apply to face, ears, back of neck, etc.), but still looking for better suggestions than what I have.

 

Most recently, I have been using ThinkSport (SPF 50+), but it seems to leave quite a bit of white after application.

 

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I also have Burt's Bees Natural (SPF 30) but I'm almost out and would have to get more. This has Titanium Dioxide instead of Zinc Oxide as the active ingredient and I think leaves a little less of that white "film," but I can't really remember. It's also been a while since I've used it, so it would need to be replaced either way.

 

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I also have a small size of Cleure Natural (SPF 30) which uses Zinc Oxide AND Titanium Dioxide for its active ingredients and seems to go on mostly clear, but turns white after a while.

 

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With all natural sunscreens I seem to get that white haze, and my husband has it worse (especially if he has the least bit of beard stubble on his face). It's a minor concern, but I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for reef-safe sunscreens that go on mostly clear - and stay that way. Google was very little help since most reviews would tell me which sunscreens were "safe," but not which ones would absorb clear and stay clear on the skin. Is that even possible with natural sunscreen?

 

I would welcome any recommendations!

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

I did a LOT of research about this to make sure that I got one that was truly reef safe.  When I went on my snorkeling excursion, the guy in charge told us (right before we got on the pier) that he didn't care what KIND of sunscreen we used and if we didn't apply it already we should then because we weren't allowed to put any on while on the excursion.  I asked if I could use the reef safe sunscreen still.  He said no--no sunscreen.  No reapplications allowed during the excursion-and it was quite a sunny day.  Just FYI for you.  Not sure if you will have a similar experience-just sharing mine.

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10 hours ago, pacruise804 said:

@LukeyC was it a spray or lotion?  I know some boat operators won't allow any spray on the boat because it makes things too slippery, but no sunscreen at all for snorkeling would bother me.  I do wear a rash guard, but that still is putting many at risk for burns.

It was lotion that I was asking to reapply.  Their policy was across the board that nobody could put sunscreen on past the dock.  I had heard of companies insisting upon reef-safe sunscreen only, but I'd never expected that they would say they didn't care what kind.  It's a good thing I had a UPF zip up jacket and UPF swim pants (capris) on.  I had some exposed skin, but luckily, even though it was quite sunny, I did not burn.

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  • 1 year later...

Generally speaking the reef-safe sunscreens use zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the actual sun-blocking mechanism and both of those compounds tend to leave a visible trace. You can get tinted versions for your face to avoid the ghost-face effect. 
 

if I’m not going snorkelling I’ll stick with my preferred once a day sunblock which works fantastically well on my ridiculously reactive skin. But on snorkel days I’ll go with my Lycra leggings and long sleeve vest so the reef-safe stuff can be limited to my face & ears. 
 

In general I’d say if you have one that works for you, your skin and your activities stick with it. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Perhaps a dumb question from a newbie diver, but... in addition to being reef-safe, how about *eye* safe sunscreens? It seems to me like when diving I'm going to be washing a bunch of the stuff off of my face (and since I'm... follicly-challenged, off my giant bald noggin) and into my eyes. How much do your eyes wind up stinging from sunscreen winding up inside your mask and getting in your eyes? Are there any particular sunscreens that are better for that than others? 

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I have no familiarity yet with reef sunscreen. However, I did read several snorkeling trips in Cancun and Cozumel that do not allow it after the dock as well. I have had skin cancer before and need to be covered up. I will apply it before going on. I have SPF 50 water shirts with hoods as well. That will keep the sun off me enough along with wearing a hat while not snorkeling.  

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Sorry to interrupt, but having been lucky with surgery and years of subsequent treatments, thought I’d give a statement made by my oncologist when asked about the best sunscreen to use when cruising.


“I am a Leading Consultant Oncologist and when on holiday in sunny destinations, I stay out of direct Sun and in full shade between 9.30am and 5pm, using copious amounts of factor 50 from 7.30am to sunset”

 

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Mine said something similar but knows it is impossible. That is why I cover up, used SPF 5M+, stay in the shade when all possible. The SPF shirts are awesome, especially the ones with hoodies. Great for fishing and snorkeling. I wear them in the pool all the time with a wide hat. Sunscreen everywhere and I have been good. See the dermatologist 2x a year for checkups. Not another cancer since.

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On 5/10/2021 at 11:44 PM, Just Don said:

Perhaps a dumb question from a newbie diver, but... in addition to being reef-safe, how about *eye* safe sunscreens? It seems to me like when diving I'm going to be washing a bunch of the stuff off of my face (and since I'm... follicly-challenged, off my giant bald noggin) and into my eyes. How much do your eyes wind up stinging from sunscreen winding up inside your mask and getting in your eyes? Are there any particular sunscreens that are better for that than others? 

It’s usually the salt water that stings your eyes unless your sunscreen isn’t waterproof.

on my first cruise snorkel excursion there was one fella who was out of the water within 5 minutes because he had forgotten how much he hated salt water ! 
I’d look for something rated for watersports to use on your face, usually something thicker so it can’t be washed off easily. It needs to be water*proof* not water *resistant*. 
 

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  • 1 month later...

Wear long sleeves and long pants over swimsuit and long sleeve rash guard.  I wore the same neck buff (the tube type face mask) I wore for COVID under a straw hat.  For a whole week in Belize last month I wore no sunscreen at all, and had no burn, and almost no tan either.

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  • 4 months later...

I'd prefer one that didn't leave me looking quite so ghostly... Lady in the hot tubs looks at me and my partner and goes, "You guys are really pale!" 🙄 I tan well, but doesn't mean I want to endure cancer or early aging. 

We used Banana Boat Ultra Sport because it was in abundant supply at our local store.

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  • 1 month later...

I really like Juice Beauty tinted mineral block for my face. My skin is really sensitive and this is the only sunscreen I can handle - plus it has a slight tint to reduce the ghost-appearance of the zinc. (It is unfortunate that it only comes in two shades of tint, light & light medium.)

 

We were in Orlando for 8 days last August, outdoors all day except for maybe 2-3 hours every afternoon, and I didn't burn at all with this (along with some use of my sun hat).

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On 1/14/2022 at 11:00 PM, jbrinkm said:

I really like Juice Beauty tinted mineral block for my face. My skin is really sensitive and this is the only sunscreen I can handle - plus it has a slight tint to reduce the ghost-appearance of the zinc. (It is unfortunate that it only comes in two shades of tint, light & light medium.)

 

We were in Orlando for 8 days last August, outdoors all day except for maybe 2-3 hours every afternoon, and I didn't burn at all with this (along with some use of my sun hat).

Darn.. I was hopeful but then found their ingredient lists… aloe, the beauty industry is obsessed with Aloe but in Australia it is known as an allergen. First person I ever met familiar with an Aloe allergy was an Australian pharmacist.  There are so many people suffering a reaction to that stuff that haven’t a clue that it’s the route cause of their skin trouble because it’s buried in so many products e.g. practically *every* disposable razor head and 90% of fake tan products. 

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List of "Bad" chemicals (from SaveTheReef.org )

Oxybenzone
Octinoxate
Octocrylene
Homosalate
4-methylbenzylidene camphor
PABA
Parabens
Triclosan
Any nanoparticles or “nano-sized” zinc or titanium (if it doesn’t explicitly say “micro-sized” or “non-nano” and it can rub in, it’s probably nano-sized)
Any form of microplastic, such as “exfoliating beads”

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On 1/21/2022 at 3:04 PM, eileeshb said:

Darn.. I was hopeful but then found their ingredient lists… aloe, the beauty industry is obsessed with Aloe but in Australia it is known as an allergen. First person I ever met familiar with an Aloe allergy was an Australian pharmacist.  There are so many people suffering a reaction to that stuff that haven’t a clue that it’s the route cause of their skin trouble because it’s buried in so many products e.g. practically *every* disposable razor head and 90% of fake tan products. 

 

Oh no! I'm sorry this won't work out for you, and didn't realize that aloe is an allergen. 

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