Wondering what sunscreen is best for the beach? The best beach sunscreens are reef-safe, water-resistant, labeled broad spectrum, and at least SPF 30.
One of the best things about Captiva Island is our beautiful beaches. But you need to protect your skin as you enjoy your time in the surf and sand. UV rays are harmful and can cause serious damage to the skin, and even lead to cancer. But what sunscreen is best for the beach? With so many options on the market, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming.
Wondering what sunscreen is best for the beach? The best beach sunscreens are reef-safe, water-resistant, labeled broad spectrum, and at least SPF 30. From there, you might consider mineral sunscreen vs chemical sunscreen, fragrance, application methods, and a handful of other factors.
Many dermatologists will tell you that the best sunscreen for the beach is one you'll wear. Let’s look at what it takes to be safe in the sun and protect yourself from damaging sun exposure.
The answer to this question is a hard “yes.” Wearing sunscreen at the beach is essential.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) insists that everyone wear sunscreen. Regular use of sunscreen, whether you’re looking for Captiva Island shells at the beach or just enjoying the outdoors, can help prevent signs of aging like wrinkles and age spots.
Sunscreen can also help prevent skin cancer. The sun emits cancer-causing UV rays. Information from the AAD indicates that one in five Americans will be affected by skin cancer at some point during their lifetime. Skin cancer can affect people from all walks of life. This means people of all ages, genders, and even skin tones can develop skin cancer.
This all boils down to mean that everyone needs sunscreen, especially at the beach.
Some people might associate sunscreen with summertime, but it needs to be part of your skincare regimen all year round. You can enjoy Florida’s beaches any month of the year. Protecting your skin all year long is an important part of staying healthy.
Yes, you need sunscreen on cloudy days. UV rays are powerful. They can penetrate clouds. This means getting a sunburn on a cloudy day is possible and your skin needs to be protected regardless of the weather.
What sunscreen is best for the beach? There are several factors to consider when you’re choosing sunscreen for the beach. Let’s look at a few considerations.
The most important factors when choosing a sunscreen for the beach include:
Want to know more about choosing the best sunscreen for the beach? Let’s look at a few more details that will help you make the right choice when you’re looking at options on the drugstore shelves.
As noted above, choosing reef-safe or ocean-friendly sunscreen is essential when you’re heading to the beach.
This means you’ll need to choose a sunscreen free of chemicals known to cause damage to coral reefs. The damaging chemicals, including oxybenzone and octinoxate, can lead to coral bleaching and disrupt the coral’s growth cycles.
Many sunscreens are labeled “reef-safe” or “ocean-friendly.” However, these terms are not regulated. This means you’ll need to read the labels when determining what sunscreen is best for the beach. Chemicals to avoid include:
Many of these ingredients harmful to coral reefs are contained in spray and chemical sunscreens. This means it might be best to stick to mineral sunscreen lotions and sunscreen sticks.
The main difference between mineral sunblock vs chemical sunscreen is how they stop UV rays. Mineral sunblocks, sometimes also called “physical sunscreens,” acts as a sun-blocking shield on the surface of your skin. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, act as a sponge and are absorbed by the skin to offer UV protection
Mineral sunblocks are generally thought of as being more friendly to the ocean and safe to use. They often contain titanium oxide and zinc oxide. These ingredients offer broad protection against UVA and UVB rays. They are gentle enough to use on sensitive skin. They are even safe for the whole family, as mineral sunblocks are safe to use on children and babies.
Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays before they reach the skin. Additionally, chemical sunscreens often offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays. They often come in spays and can be easy to apply. However, you need to check the ingredients on chemical sunscreen before heading to the beach. Chemical sunscreens can contain reef-damaging ingredients.
Reef-safe sunscreen is just one essential you’ll need for a day at the beach. Learn how to pack for the beach with expert advice.
Sunblock and sunscreen are terms you’ll see frequently. They are often used interchangeably. However, sunscreen and sunblock might be different.
Sunscreens, including chemical sunscreens, filter the sun’s UVA and UVB rays before they reach the skin.
Sunblocks, on the other hand, physically block the sun’s UVA and UVB rays from reaching the skin. This might refer to mineral or physical sunblocks as mentioned above.
The AAD recommends that beachgoers wear sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. But is this the best SPF for the beach? It all depends on your skin and your preferences.
Sun protection factor, or SPF, is the measurement used to determine how sunscreen protects your skin. SPF measures how long it would take your skin to burn from the sun’s damaging rays. It measures this time in hours.
For example, if it normally takes your skin one hour to burn in the sun unprotected, using SPF 30 sunscreen exactly as prescribed would allow you to stay in the sun for 30 hours without burning. On the same token, if you normally burn in the sun for half an hour (which is possible for those with fair skin), SPF 30 would protect your skin for 15 hours if applied perfectly.
These SPF ratings are based on how sunscreen is applied in a lab, under supervision from doctors and researchers. However, real-world applications can vary. For example, sweat, oils in our skin, ocean water, and other factors can impact how sunscreen stays on the skin at the beach.
Some experts believe that sunscreens over SPF 50 might be too much and not worth bringing to the beach. Studies show that sunscreens higher than SPF 50 only offer marginally more protection and can give you a false sense of security when it comes to sun safety.
Is SPF 100 harmful? The answer is likely no. But is SPF 100 worth it? Probably not. Research from the Skin Cancer Foundation shows that SPF 30 sunscreen blocks about 97% of the sun's harmful rays. SPF 50 protects you from about 98% of the damaging rays. And finally, SPF 100 protects you from about 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Such a small difference might not matter when it comes to practical use at the beach.
Applying moisturizer is likely part of your daily skincare routine. But should you put on moisturizer before or after sunscreen? It depends on the sunscreen you choose to use.
Put moisturizer on after your sunscreen if you’re using a chemical formula. If you are using a mineral sunblock, you can apply moisturizer first.
Following these suggestions will likely help you get the most out of your sunscreen and help you stay safe in the sun.
Captiva Island’s beautiful beaches are the perfect place to enjoy the surf and sand. Now that you know a little more about what sunscreen is best for the beach, it’s time to get your toes in the water by planning your next beach trip with Jensen’s Twin Palm Marina and Cottages™.
Jensen’s Marina is just a few steps away from some of the most breathtaking white sand beaches you’ll find in Florida. Imagine waking up in a historic beach cottage right on the water, enjoying a Captiva Island breakfast, and then heading out for a relaxing day listening to ocean waves. It's all possible when you vacation at Jensen’s Twin Palm Marina and Cottages™.
Ready to learn more about the amenities and lodging at Jensen’s Marina? Call us at (833) 668-7768 or contact Jensen’s Twin Palm Marina and Cottages™ online now.