6 Best Sunscreens For Surfers in 2024!

Spending hours in the water it's important that we know what the best sunscreens for surfers are and which ones are right for us!

Surfers need to be extra careful when out in the sun as the water often rubs off any sunscreen you put on!

That is why we have put together the list of the best sunscreens for surfers so your skin can be protected next time out.

What Are The Best Sunscreens For Surfers?

No matter what surf accessory purchase you make, from portable showers to surf changing robes it's essential that you ensure it's the best equipment on the market!

Best Sunscreens For Surfers
best sunscreen for surfers

1) Sun Zapper Zinc Sunscreen

This SPF 50+ sunscreen is designed for harsh Australian conditions and offers more than 4 hours of water resistance, making it suitable for sports, surfing, climbing, and reef activities. It provides protection against UVA and UVB rays to prevent sunburn and burnout, and it's biodegradable. Enriched with Vitamin E and Aloe Vera, this fragrance-free and paraben-free sunscreen is soothing, nourishing, and moisturizing, helping combat premature aging of the skin.

Product Pros

  • Zinc Oxide
  • Reef Safe
  • Last Long

Product Cons

  • Mainly For Face
High Protection Sunscreens For Surfers
best sunscreen for surfers

2) Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen

This Original SPF 50 Clear Zinc Sunscreen is designed for daily use and provides UVA/UVB protection with a non-comedogenic formula that's suitable for all skin types. It's water-resistant and reef-act compliant, making it a great choice for outdoor activities. To use, apply liberally to all exposed skin areas 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply after swimming or sweating for maximum protection.

Product Pros

  • UVA & UVB
  • SPF 50
  • Dermatology Tested

Product Cons

  • None!
Best Sunscreens For Surfers With Sensitive Skin
best sunscreen for surfers

3) Waxhead Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

This coral reef-friendly sunscreen stick is a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen without petrochemicals, making it great for sensitive skin and water sports. It's EWG's #1-rated organic sunscreen for the face, providing true UVA/UVB coverage without running or stinging eyes. This eco-friendly sunscreen is approved for marine parks and stays on the skin's surface, and it contains only four food-grade ingredients, making it a natural choice for sun protection.

Product Pros

  • UVA & UVB Protection
  • Eco Friendly
  • SPF 50+

Product Cons

  • Only For Face
Best Mineral Sunscreens For Surfers
best sunscreen for surfers

4) Thrive Natural Mineral Sunscreen

This reef-friendly mineral sunscreen contains 23.5% zinc oxide, creating a physical barrier to the sun with water-resistant protection for up to 80 minutes. It's a non-tinted SPF 50 sunscreen that offers sun defense and skin repair, with natural ingredients that hydrate and revitalize the skin. The sunscreen is cruelty-free, vegan, and eco-friendly, with a commitment to supporting Costa Rican farmers through regenerative farming practices.

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Product Pros

  • Dermatology Tested
  • Anti Aging
  • Non Greasy

Product Cons

  • Can be thick
Best Reef Safe Sunscreens For Surfers
best sunscreen for surfers

5) Reef Safe Sunscreen SPF 50

This SPF 50 sunscreen offers broad-spectrum mineral-based sun protection against UVA/UVB rays, with a waterproof formula lasting up to 80 minutes. It's reef-friendly, 100% chemical-free, and safe for marine life. The sunscreen is also paraben-free, silicone-free, and provides strong UV protection with a clear, non-sticky, and biodegradable formula suitable for sensitive skin.

Product Pros

  • Trusted Brand
  • SPF 50
  • UVA & UVB Protection

Product Cons

  • Can Be Greasy
Highest SPF Sunscreens For Surfers
best sunscreen for surfers

6) Neutrogena Water-Resistant SPF 70 Sunscreen

Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen Lotion offers SPF 70 protection against both UVA and UVB rays, helping prevent sunburn and reducing the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. The Helioplex technology provides strong sun protection, and this fast-absorbing, oil-free formula is perfect for outdoor activities, lasting up to 80 minutes in water. It's recommended by dermatologists and free of oxybenzone, making it an excellent choice for sun safety.

Product Pros

  • High Protection
  • Very Easy To Apply

Product Cons

  • Suitable For Warm Water

How To Apply Zinc Sunscreen?

How to use Suntribe Zinc Sun Stick

Waterproof Sunscreen For Surfing

Waterproof sunscreen for surfing is a specialized sun protection product designed to withstand the unique challenges posed by spending hours in the water while riding the waves.

Unlike regular sunscreens, which can wash off easily when exposed to water, these sunscreens have enhanced water-resistant properties, making them ideal for surfers who are constantly in and out of the ocean.

They form a protective barrier on the skin that effectively shields it from the sun's harmful UV rays, even when exposed to saltwater and sweat.

This ensures that surfers can enjoy extended sessions in the water without constantly needing to reapply sunscreen, providing peace of mind and reliable sun protection.

Zinc Sunscreen For Surfing

Zinc sunscreen for surfing is a popular choice among surfers due to its exceptional sun protection properties.

This type of sunscreen contains zinc oxide as its active ingredient, which acts as a physical barrier against the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays. What sets zinc sunscreen apart is its ability to provide broad-spectrum protection while remaining highly water-resistant, making it ideal for surfers who spend extended periods in the ocean.

It creates a protective layer on the skin's surface that reflects and scatters UV radiation, effectively preventing sunburn and reducing the risk of skin damage caused by prolonged sun exposure during surf sessions.

Sunscreens For Surfers: Buyers Guide

Sun Protection Factor

When it comes to selecting a sunscreens for surfers who will be exposed to UV rays all day there a few factors to consider:

Firstly, aim to purchase sunscreens that offer a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating. Ideally SPF 30 or higher is recommended as it provides superior protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Look for water-resistant formulas that won't easily wash off while you're surfing, and consider ones specifically designed for sports or water activities to ensure lasting coverage all day long.

Broad Spectrum Protection

It’s important as surfers to opt in for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning it shields your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays can penetrate deep into the skin, leading to long-term damage, while UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. A broad-spectrum sunscreen provides comprehensive defence against both types, reducing the risk of skin cancer and premature ageing.

Suitable For Surfing

Purchasing a sunscreen that is specifically formulated for active individuals is very important, preventing sunscreen running down your face after your first duckdive.

These sunscreens are often sweat/water resistant and provide better adherence to the skin, even in wet conditions. Look for these features before buying your sunscreen to avoid getting sunscreen in your eyes due to run off or your face getting burnt!

Non Comedomegic

Additionally, choose a surf sunscreen that is non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog your pores. This is particularly important for surfers who may experience increased sweat and oil production while in the water.

Non-comedogenic formulas help prevent breakouts and keep your skin clear and healthy giving you that post surf glow!

Reef Safe

You should always consider opting for a sunscreen that is reef-safe and environmentally friendly. Certain chemicals in sunscreens ingredients can be harmful to marine life and coral reefs.

Look for mineral-based sunscreens containing ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they are less harmful to the environment.

How Does Zinc Sunscreen Work and Can I Trust It?

Surf zinc sunscreen, often in the form of a zinc oxide-based cream or stick, provides a physical barrier on the skin that reflects and scatters the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Popular amongst surfers due to its reef safe properties, zinc oxide is a mineral that sits on the surface of the skin and acts as a shield against both UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays are longer wavelength rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and contribute to premature ageing and wrinkling.

UVB rays are shorter wavelength rays that primarily affect the outer layers of the skin, causing sunburn. Both types of rays can contribute to the development of skin cancer.

When applied to the face, surf zinc sunscreen forms a protective layer that prevents UV rays from reaching the skin. It works by reflecting and scattering the rays away from the skin's surface, reducing their penetration and minimising the damage they can cause.

In addition to its sun-protective properties, surf zinc sunscreen is also known for its water resistance, making it suitable for us surfers to use. It stays on the skin even when exposed to water, providing prolonged protection during outdoor water sports.

Frequently Asked Questions

What SPF sunscreen should I use?

It is recommended to choose a surf sunscreen with a high SPF rating of 30 or higher to provide effective protection against the sun's harmful UV rays when surfing.

Should I choose a specific sunscreen for sports or water activities?

Yes, it is beneficial to select a separate sunscreen specifically designed for water activities as they ensure lasting protection.

Why is it important to choose a reef-safe sunscreen?

Certain chemical sunscreen ingredients can be harmful to marine life and coral reefs. Choosing a reef-safe sunscreen such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, helps protect the environment.

Is water resistance important in sunscreen?

Yes, water resistance is vital as it ensures that the product remains effective even when you're in the water.

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing long-term damage and premature ageing. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns only affecting the top layer of the skin.

What does it mean if a sunscreen is non-comedogenic

Non-comedogenic sunscreens are formulated to not clog pores, making them ideal for surfers who may experience increased sweat and oil production. This helps prevent breakouts and keeps the skin clear.

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