Even with the best sun protective apparel, you should always use one of these top-rated broad spectrum sunscreens to protect the parts of your body not covered by UPF apparel. From your ears to your toes, every part of your skin—no matter the color—is vulnerable to sunburn and damage if overexposed to UV radiation. Make sunburn a thing of the past by using the best sunscreens of 2020!
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Top 10 Sunscreens for 2020
10) La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen, SPF 60
The SPF 60 might be overkill, but we like that La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen achieves its protection factor with reef-safe ingredients. Its water resistant and fragrance-free formula provides safe broad spectrum protection for most skin types, whether for everyday use or extended activities. Additionally, La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios sunscreens feature antioxidants and Vitamin E to defend against free radicals and repair damaged skin.
9) Thinksport Sunscreen, SPF 50
The first physical (non-chemical) sunscreen in our top 10, Thinksport’s SPF 50 sunscreen is reef-friendly and water-resistant for 80 minutes. We especially like that Thinksport prioritized your skin’s health without resorting to questionable ingredients. It’s usually available at a reasonable price, but you may run out quicker than usual because it’s a little greasy and thick. Still, this is a great sunscreen if you’ll be in natural waters where the potential to impact marine life is a factor.
8) Banana Boat Sun Comfort, SPF 50
Reef-safe ingredients, 80-minute water resistance and SPF 50 protection are highlights of this quality sunscreen from Banana Boat. Additionally, the “Sun Comfort” sunscreen lotion offers a pleasant moisturizing, non-greasy application. This benefit is especially important when reapplying at the beach, as it’s meant to allow sand to brush off easily. And remember, reapply at least every two hours!
7) Coppertone Sport, SPF 50
The first spray lotion to crack our top 10, Coppertone Sport’s SPF 50 chemical sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection and water resistance, but still at a great value. Aside from the mediocre spray mechanic and it not technically qualifying as reef-safe, this is a great alternate sunscreen if you need a spray option, especially when exercising outside.
6) BullFrog Water Sport Armor Tech, SPF 50
Although it isn’t reef-safe, BullFrog’s Water Sport Armor Tech sunscreen is a great chemical sunscreen lotion featuring 80-minute water resistance. Since it contains oxybenzone, it’s great for the pool, but not as suitable for natural bodies of water. Still, for pools or land-based activities, Bull Frog’s non-greasy, long lasting formula is a great option.
5) Banana Boat Ultra Sport Performance, SPF 50
Our top-rated spray sunscreen, Banana Boat’s Sport Performance offers broad spectrum SPF 50 protection with the convenience of a spray application. It’s hard to beat the cost (often available for under $1 per ounce), and this is a great sunscreen backed by the reputable Banana Boat brand. Plus, this was recently updated to remove oxybenzone, therefore making this reef-friendly! Still, as convenient as Banana Boat’s Sport Performance is to apply, we prefer lotions over spray applications because it’s easier to tell how much you applied with a lotion.
4) Blue Lizard Active Mineral-based, SPF 30
A unique mineral-based combination lotion featuring zinc oxide and octocrylene, Blue Lizard’s Active SPF 30 sunscreen qualifies as reef-safe. We really like this sunscreen because it has both the physical and chemical elements of a sunscreen, providing the best of both worlds while minimizing its impact on our actual world. A quick peek at Amazon.com and you’ll see that most users also agree that it’s hard to beat the competitive price and effective performance. Therefore, it’s one of our new favorites!
3) Banana Boat Dry Balance, SPF 50
Broad-spectrum and reef-safe, Banana Boat’s Dry Balance SPF 50 sunscreen lotion offers maximum protection, but also leaves a soft, matte finish as opposed to the sometimes sticky or greasy films left by inferior sunscreens. Equally suited for daily use or a long day at the beach, we believe the unique “Dry Balance” only further justifies what’s already a very reasonable price per ounce.
2) Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport, SPF 50
Although this chemical sunscreen from Hawaiian Tropic isn’t reef-friendly (it contains oxybenzone), it is easy to apply, doesn’t leave you ghostly and doesn’t smell like chemicals. It’s also usually one of the most affordable sunscreens, which helps encourage frequent use with generous applications. Of course, this is important because its thinner “ultra light” consistency might incline you to reapply more frequently. Overall, it does the job and often at less than $1 per ounce, but we recommend Hawaiian Tropic’s Island Sport lotion for when you know you’re staying on land.
1) Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen, SPF 50
Despite the name, this isn’t just for babies! In fact, this broad spectrum mineral sunscreen is good for all ages because it uses zinc oxide for reef-friendly UV protection, making Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen one of the only sunscreens we reviewed to achieve an SPF 50 rating without resorting to reef-harming ingredients. Since it’s free of any questionable ingredients, Thinkbaby’s zinc oxide sun lotion is safe for all ages (6+ months), water resistant for 80 minutes and it was the first sunscreen to pass Whole Foods’ Premium Care requirements.
Sunscreen + UPF Apparel
Broad spectrum sunscreen plays a critical role in sun safety. However, for the safest, surest and most cost-effective UV protection, a good sunscreen is best paired with UPF apparel. Shop Rayward Apparel’s UPF sun protection clothing today, including our popular sun shirts!
Bonus: Need a reminder about why you should be wearing sunscreen and protecting your skin? Check out this TED Ed video lesson by Kevin P. Boyd:
About Rayward’s Sunscreen Reviews
Many sunscreens are available in multiple sizes and/or SPF ratings. Several factors, including performance, ingredients and cost, can vary based on the SPF rating. Therefore, each review applies most accurately to these exact products, and is based on ingredients available at time of publication.
Sunscreen is never waterproof. In fact, FDA regulations only allow a “water-resistant” rating of either 40 or 80 minutes. Regardless of the rating, you should always reapply sunscreen after sweating, towel drying or water submersion of any duration.
Reef-safe (or “reef-friendly”) labels are determined by each sunscreen’s ingredients and their recognized impact on coral reefs and marine life. At the time of publication, both oxybenzone and octinoxate are generally recognized as damaging to coral reefs. Therefore, we believe that including oxybenzone or octinoxate disqualifies a sunscreen from earning a “reef-safe” label. Some places even prohibit the use of sunscreens containing these and/or other ingredients. Please check with local regulations to ensure your sunscreen is approved.
Before purchasing ANY sunscreen, you should ALWAYS check the product label.
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