Reef Safe Sunscreen + Consumer R*po*ts Top Rated Sunscreens – Plus FDA & CDC Sun Protection Tips

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Which Coral Safe, Reef Safe Sunscreen To Buy? To make your life easy and save you time, this is the top-ranked, by a world-wide independent organization, Environmental Working Group, specializing in chemical safety for consumers and the environment.

Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion – Safe, convenient, easy-to-apply, reef safe Clear Zinc SPF 30 Sunscreen provides 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance. Perfect for a day at the field, park or beach. Rated a #1 in Safety on EWG, fragrance Free

OK, now that you have that, on with the full details.

07/07/2018 UPDATE: Coral and Reef Safe Sunscreens

Just What Is Coral Bleaching? A quick overview of how coral bleaching was discovered. In 2005, Craig Downs, Ph.D., a forensic ecotoxicologist in Virginia was asked by National Park Service to determine what was killing all the coral reefs around Trunk Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Downs, who is the executive director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, went with researchers to discover the cause. All their scientific efforts were for naught until  a local Rastafarian overheard their conversation and said, “It’s the tourists.”  Downs determined that between 2,000 to 5,000 people visited the beach and after they left there was an ‘iridescent sheen’ on the water.  Downs discovered that chemicals in sunscreen used by snorkelers, divers, and beachgoers had washed off in the water and was damaging the coral reef.

In short, your sunscreen was contaminating the ocean and killing coral.

Coral Bleaching

Too Macho For Coral Safe Sunscreen? If you are a teenage boy who is ‘too macho’ to use reef safe sunscreen, know this, in a recent evaluation of CDC-collected exposure data for American children, researchers found that adolescent boys with higher oxybenzone measurements had significantly lower total testosterone levels (Scinicariello 2016).

Top-Rated EWG Sunscreen Products To Buy

Note these sunscreens are recommended by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion – Safe, convenient, easy-to apply Clear Zinc SPF 30 Sunscreen provides 80 minutes water and sweat resistance. Perfect for a day at the field, park or beach. Rated a #1 in Safety on EWG, 100% Non-Nano Zinc Sunscreen, UVA/UVB protection. 80 Minutes Water & Sweat Resistant. For Face, Lips, Nose and Ears, Non-greasy, Glide-on application rubs in easily, Moisturizes & Protects with Certified Organic Oils including jojoba. Hypoallergenic and Lightweight, Dairy and Soy Free, Perfect for Super Sensitive Skin, Fragrance Free

Raw Elements Sunscreen – Raw Elements Face and Body Certified Natural Sunscreen | Non Nano Zinc Oxide 95% Organic, Very Water Resistant, Reef Safe, Non GMO, Cruelty Free, SPF 30 Reusable Tin 3oz One of EWG’s top rated sunscreens, all natural, soy, gluten and nut free with certified organic ingredients and physical broad spectrum protection.
Extremely versatile, large coverage area sunscreen that is safe for face and body, gentle enough for children and provides extra protection against wind and salt.
Raw Elements Face + Body contains 97% certified organic ingredients and 100% certified natural ingredients so hydrating that it doubles as a great organic moisturizer.
Packed with biologically active antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, your skin stays protected long after environmental exposure.
Raw Elements formulas are very water resistant (up to 80 minutes), reef safe and biodegradable, allowing you to adventure without worry that the product will run or sting your eyes

You can also try sun protective clothing for men and sun protective clothing for women.

Sunscreen Ingredients To Look For: First things first… the term ‘reef safe’ isn’t currently a regulated term and has an unclear definition. With that preface, here are factors for your consideration:

The HEL LIST – Products labeled with the “Protect Land + Sea” Certification Seal means that the product has been laboratory‐tested using analytical‐forensic techniques to verify that the product is free of the chemicals that are on the “HEL LIST.”

What Chemicals are on the HEL List so I know which to avoid? The HEL LIST includes:

  • Any form of microplastic sphere or beads.
  • Any nanoparticles like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Octocrylene
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Methyl Paraben
  • Ethyl Paraben
  • Propyl Paraben
  • Butyl Paraben
  • Benzyl Paraben
  • Triclosan

05/18/2017 Update – Includes CDC & FDA guidelines plus a major consumer magazine’s top 11 recommended sunscreens that received excellent overall ratings:



Protecting Your Children From Sunburn: The CDC offers these suggestions on How Can I Protect My Children from the Sun?.

Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Kids don’t have to be at the pool, beach, or on vacation to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they’re outdoors.

Seek shade. UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday, so it’s best to plan indoor activities then. If this is not possible, seek shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a pop-up tent. Use these options to prevent sunburn, not to seek relief after it’s happened.

Cover up. When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor.

Get a hat. Hats that shade the face, scalp, ears, and neck are easy to use and give great protection. Baseball caps are popular among kids, but they don’t protect their ears and neck. If your child chooses a cap, be sure to protect exposed areas with sunscreen.

Wear sunglasses. They protect your child’s eyes from UV rays, which can lead to cataracts later in life. Look for sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.

Apply sunscreen. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection every time your child goes outside. For the best protection, apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. Don’t forget to protect ears, noses, lips, and the tops of feet.

Before we start, this is what the US Food and Drug Administration has to say about, “The ABCs of Sun Protection – Tanning Tips.”

The FDA  provides these tips (rules) on sunscreen:

Two Hour Rule: Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, more often if you’re sweating or jumping in and out of the water.

Time Of Day Rule: Limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.

When To Apply Rule: Generally, apply an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside so the product has time to soak into your skin and provide the maximum benefit. You should apply sunscreen everyday, even if it is cloudy.

Choosing A Sunscreen Tips: Sunscreens are made in a wide range of sun protection factors (aka SP). As a general rule, the higher the SPF number, the more protection against sunburn and other skin damage the sunscreen provides. To get the most protection out of sunscreen, choose one with an SPF of at least 15. If your skin is fair, types I to III, you may want a higher minimum SPF of 30 to 50.

The CDC further recommends for adults:

Shade: You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.

Clothing: When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.

Hat: For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection. If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15, or by staying in the shade.

Sunglasses: Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

And, of course, Sunscreen: Put on broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.
When shopping for sunscreen, chose one that is labeled as broad-spectrum because it will help protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Check the sunscreen label for broad-spectrum ingredients such as those listed in the table below.

Amazon Products

Examples of Broad-Spectrum Ingredients:  Benzophenones (Oxybenzone), Cinnamates (Octinoxate Cinoxate), Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX), Sulisobenzone, Salicylates, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide,  Avobenzone (Parsol 1789).

The FDA on How to Apply Sunscreen:

Apply 30 minutes before you go outside. This allows the sunscreen (of SPF 15 or higher) to have enough time to provide the maximum benefit.
Use enough to cover your entire face and body (avoiding the eyes and mouth). An average-sized adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen (about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass) to evenly cover the body from head to toe.

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to these frequently overlooked areas:

Back of neck
Tops of feet
Along the hairline
Areas of the head exposed by balding or thinning hair

Know your skin. Fair-skinned people are likely to absorb more solar energy than dark-skinned people under the same conditions.

Reapply at least every two hours, and more often if you’re swimming or sweating.

There’s no such thing as waterproof sunscreen: People should also be aware that no sunscreens are “waterproof.” All sunscreens eventually wash off. Sunscreens labeled “water resistant” are required to be tested according to the required SPF test procedure. The labels are required to state whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes when swimming or sweating, and all sunscreens must provide directions on when to reapply.

A major consumer magazine Time Magazine reported on the top-rated sunscreens: The deadliest kind of skin cancer has more than doubled since 1982. Still, according to a recent study, most of us don’t wear SPF regularly. Quite simply, while everybody needs more sun protection note every sun tanning lotion will block the sun.

Time found two new reports looked beyond labels and assessed how some sunscreens stacked up against others, as well as whether or not they met their own label claims. Time Magazine reports the six standout sunscreens that, when used properly, have an SPF of at least 30, offer broad-spectrum coverage and have earned accolades from scientists at either Consumer Reports (CR) or the Environmental Working Group (EWG)–or both.

Here is the list of the top rated sunscreens and sunblock brands, as reported by Time Magazine and the 5*, #1 best-selling skin sun protection offered on Amazon.

Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46: This is the top selling sun care product at Amazon. Elta MD UV Shield 46 helps reduce the appearance of blemishes, discoloration, and photo-damaged skin while protecting from broad spectrum of UVA/UVB rays. UV Shield is lightweight and contributes to maintaining clean, clear, smooth skin. This product is great for all skin types, including acne-prone skin and also oil-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic, sensitivity-free, and fragrance-free.UV Clear is formulated with 5% pure form Niacinamide, which is a part of the family of Vitamin B3 or niacine without the same toxic effects. The purer form used in this product has less or no nicotinic acid which can cause flushing or irritation and is also odorless Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46Reef Safe Sunscreen

Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50: Time identified Coppertone makes Water Babies SPF 50 as the top performer. Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 3oz (Pack of 2)Sunscreen Reef Safe

La Roche–Posay Anthelios 60: The FDA frowns on claims of SPF above 50, but La Roche–Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk lived up to its label claim. It was the only product to earn a perfect score from CR. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light SunscreenSunscreen Safety

Walmart’s Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50: typically a low cost product was the fourth best performer, providing top UVA and UVB protection. Walmart Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 16oztop rated sunscreen

Goddess Garden Organics Everyday SPF 30: Goddess Garden Organics Everyday SPF 30 has a good UVA-UVB balance. Goddess Garden SPF 30

California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30+: CR found that many natural sunscreens don’t work well, but California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ met its SPF claim. Additionally it offers good UVA and UVB protection as a natural sunscreen. California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen Sticktop rated sunscreens

Suntegrity Natural Mineral SPF 30: The creator of Suntegrity Natural Mineral SPF 30 launched the line when her mother died due to melanoma. This product uses zinc oxide to block the sun in lieu of chemical blockers–was a top pick of the EWG. Suntegrity Natural Mineral SunscreenCoral Bleaching

The FDA offers these additional sun safety tips:

You Can Put It Where The Sun Do Shine: Apply a liberal amount of sunscreen to your entire face (avoiding the eyes and mouth) and body, taking extra care to cover frequently forgotten spots such as ears, nose, lips, back of neck, tops of feet, along the hairline and areas of the head exposed by balding or thinning hair.

Wear Protective Clothing: Wear protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts made of tightly-woven fabric to minimize exposure to the sun. Select  a wide-brimmed hat that shields your face and shoulders will provide the most protection. Loosely woven straw hats provide very little sun protection. As a rule of thumb, do not wear a hat if you can see sunlight shining through the fabric.

Select  a wide-brimmed hat that shields your face and shoulders will provide the most protection. Loosely woven straw hats provide very little sun protection. As a rule of thumb, do not wear a hat if you can see sunlight shining through the fabric.

Clothing can also help protect you from UV rays. Tightly-woven, light-colored, lightweight fabrics will provide you with the most comfort and protection.

Sun-protective clothing and swimsuits are now available in stores. However, these products are not regulated by FDA.

Wear Sunglasses With 100% UV Ray Protection:  Choose sunglasses that are labeled with a UVA/UVB rating of 100% to provide the most UV protection. Select for models that advertise both UVB and UVA protection. Don’t assume that dark-tinted sunglasses offer more UV protection. The darkness of the lens does not indicate its ability to shield your eyes from UV rays. Many sunglasses with light-colored tints, such as green, amber, red, and gray offer the same UV protection as very dark lenses.

Children should also wear sunglasses that indicate the UV protection level. Toy sunglasses may not have any UV protection, so be sure to look for the UV protection label.

Large, wraparound-style frames may provide more efficient UV protection because they cover the entire eye-socket. This is especially important when doing activities around or on water because much of the UV comes from light reflected off the water’s surface.


Here is an informative sunscreen video.

Here are videos on to apply sunscreen:


Sunscreen Reef Safe, Sunscreen Safety

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