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The Caribbean is a popular vacation destination, known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and warm weather. However, the sun’s intense UV rays can cause serious damage to your skin, including sunburn, premature ageing, and even skin cancer.
That’s why it’s essential to pack a high-quality sunscreen that provides both high SPF and broad-spectrum protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
The sunscreens we’ve listed above are some of the best sunscreens for Caribbean vacations including reef-safe sunscreens and will help you enjoy your time in the sun without having to worry about sunburns or other skin damage.
Top 3 Picks: Best Sunscreens for the Caribbean
Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen
With its safer zinc oxide mineral formulation & non-toxic ingredients. This sunscreen is ideal for all sport and outdoor activity.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Gentle Mineral Sunscreen
Great everyday face & body sunscreen with zinc oxide & titanium dioxide. With a soft finish, non-greasy texture that is oil-free & unscented.
BlackGirl Moisturising Sunscreen SPF 30
Sunscreen made by women of colour for people of colour, because we get sunburned too. All natural ingredients includes avocado, Jojoba oil & cacao.
Best Sunscreens for Caribbean
Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen
If you’re searching for a reef-safe sunscreen that is excellent for a myriad of outdoor activities, then Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen should be your go-to choice.
The broad spectrum formulation utilises non-nano zinc oxide to shield against UVB and UVA rays.
It’s perfect if you dread having to lather yourself in a thick sunblock. This lightweight formula goes on easily while leaving behind a little white cast or greasy residue. Unbelievably, it also disappears quickly after application, what more could we ask for?
This sunscreen is an ideal beach buddy since it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. So whether you’re lounging in a cabana sipping on a rum punch or catching some killer waves, this sunscreen has got your back. The gentle and non-irritating formula also makes it suitable for everyday use – even if you have a sensitive skin type. And the icing on top? It’s vegan too.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Gentle Mineral Sunscreen
La Roche-Posay’s oil-free formula is powered by 100% mineral UV blockers of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as well as silica powder for a matte finish.
It’s facial and body sunscreen that is put through rigorous lab tests to guarantee marine safety, so you can feel confident that your skin is protected from harmful rays. However, this brand does not utilise “reef safe” terminology or specify if its main ingredients are non-nano.
Bissport Sunscreen Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Black Girl Sunscreen is a Black-owned brand with SPF 30 that caters to darker skin tones.
This vegan and cruelty-free product uses natural moisturisers including jojoba, avocado, and sunflower oils in an ultra-sheer formula designed to dry clear without leaving any white residue – perfect for wearing under makeup.
Not only does this sunscreen meet regulations of being reef-friendly but it is free from oxybenzone or octinoxate. It also has added benefit of allowing your skin to breathe and providing sun protection by blocking out UVA/UVB rays.
However, please note that this sunscreen unfortunately isn’t compliant with U.S Virgin Islands’ policies as it contains octocrylene, although still much better than most chemical sunscreens available on the market today.
Badger SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream
Badger Active Mineral Sunscreen is the perfect choice for those looking to protect their skin from harmful broad-spectrum UV rays.
Boasting an SPF 30 rating, this product contains only organic sunflower oil, beeswax, uncoated zinc oxide and vitamin E.
Additionally, Badger has gone above and beyond by having its sunscreen lab tested to assure consumers that it meets all of the safety standards set forth in the HEL list. As a result of these tests, Land + Sea awarded this product with their certification seal – your assurance that you are using a safe and clean sunscreen.
This incredible product is not only vegan and cruelty-free, but it’s also free of GMOs and created with the power of the sun. What’s more impressive is that 50 per cent of its packaging is recyclable. The one disadvantage to this sunscreen compared to others on our list–it has a 40-minute water/sweat resistance time instead of an 80-minute protection rate like some other products.
Babo Botanicals Zinc Sunscreen
If you’re looking for a safe sunscreen that won’t harm either yourself or the environment, this non-nano zinc Babo Botanicals Sunscreen is your best bet.
Free of oxybenzone, octinoxate and parabens, its natural ingredients like sunflower seed, coconut oil, and jojoba oil make it great even on sensitive skin; non-greasy yet offering SPF 30 protection with water and sweat resistant up to 80 minutes – perfect for both body as well face use.
Suntegrity Skincare Natural Mineral Body Sunscreen
After her mother’s loss to skin cancer, Tricia Trimble found solace in founding Suntegrity from her apartment in Southern California. The company offers a range of products including SPF 50 mineral powders and Impeccable Skin Sunscreen Foundation.
All their sunscreens are specially formulated with non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum protection along with age-defying antioxidants.
It was essential that the brand’s products be reef-safe, vegan (other than serums and Sport line with beeswax), gentle on sensitive skin, created in the United States of America and free from animal testing.
One of their most popular items is an SPF 30 Body Sunscreen which has an orange scent plus boasts jojoba oil, aloe vera extract, cucumber extract as well as hyaluronic acid for a refreshing feel when applied to your body like lotion.
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50
Alba Botanica mineral sunscreen spray is the perfect pick for a beach-goer’s day by the sea. The tropical aroma and simple application of spraying on make it ideal.
It also comes in handy for boating trips or any other water activity, where you don’t have to worry about applying creams or sticks – plus it covers those hard-to-reach areas too.
Forget having to mess with sandy applications (or reapplications) throughout the day; now your sun protection can stay put while still enjoying all kinds of aquatic activities.
Although biodegradable and containing avobenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene to protect against UVA/UVB rays, some may be hesitant about this sunscreen if heading for a dip in the pool due to its potential reaction with chlorine as indicated by one study.
Supergoop! Mineral Mattescreen SPF 40
Supergoop! Mattescreen 100% Mineral Sunscreen does it all, offering comprehensive UVA and UVB protection and blocking blue light from electronic devices.
Its translucent tint is designed to reduce the white cast many mineral-based sunscreens leave behind, making it suitable for a broad range of skin tones.
Not only that but its oil-free formula functions as a primer, pore minimizer and sunscreen – altogether providing an exceptional level of coverage so you can hit the waves with confidence.
California Baby Super Sensitive SPF 30 Lotion
This vegan and marine-friendly sunscreen is ideal for adults, kids, and babies with sensitive skin as it’s made without common allergens such as dairy, gluten, soy or oats.
The mineral-based formula provides an effective barrier from the sun through titanium dioxide rather than oxybenzone or octinoxate, two other commonly used chemicals that can cause irritation.
To top it off this product has no avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene or homosalate making sure you only get protection without any unnecessary extras.
Originally available fragrance-free, users now have the added benefit of a pleasant gardenia and lemongrass essential oil scent to accompany their daily routine. Although it’s not listed on the label, the company claims this product is “coral reef-safe.”
All Good Makes Everything Better Sport Face & Body
If you are a passionate traveller who likes to indulge in water activities during your getaways, then make sure to purchase this All Good mineral sunscreen.
It’s perfect for those beachside sports that you love since it is both reef-safe and long-lasting.
On top of that, it won’t leave any greasy residue or sticky feeling thanks to its blend of coconut oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter, all of which help keep your skin hydrated even when sweating buckets.
Get ready for the ultimate vacation without having to worry about sunburns or discomfort.
Sun Bum Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Lotion is the perfect choice for those searching for a vegan and cruelty-free sunscreen with SPF protection and 80 minutes of water resistance.
This product does not contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, so you can be sure that it is safe for use in the environment.
The only downside is that it does contain octocrylene which has been outlawed in the US Virgin Islands; nonetheless, this remains an excellent choice overall.
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+
Not only is this ocean-friendly and Hawaii-compliant sunscreen silky, smooth and effortless to apply, but it also forms an invisible yet powerful barrier when exposed to heat from the sun or water.
Due to its high resistance against lathering off with sweat or waves, this product is perfect for beach days under intense sunshine.
Nevertheless, buyers should be aware that although free of oxybenzone and octinoxate contaminants, avobenzone homosalate , octisalate as well as octocrylene do remain components in the formula.
Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+
Achieve an effortless pool-side glam with this nourishing clear sunscreen. Its lightweight, natural ingredients make it perfect for any skin type.
Not to mention that you can apply it over makeup and feel protected all day long from UVA and UVB rays.
This dermatologist-tested stick features soy extract and licorice which are said to help prevent wrinkles, dark spots, and dullness – how amazing is that? On top of the incredible benefits, its compact size allows you to take it anywhere on your travels so no vacation will go unprotected.
Earth Mama Kids Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40
You may think it’s impractical to reapply sunscreen every hour on your child, but trust us when we say this paediatrician and dermatologist-tested formula is worth the extra effort.
Not only does this sensitive product protect against UVA and UVB rays, it also contains organic shea and calendula that are safe for even the most delicate skin types.
Plus, you can rest assured knowing that each application will keep your little one’s baby soft skin healthy – all without any animal testing.
What to Look for in a Sunscreen?
Before you select the perfect sunscreen for your Caribbean vacation, let’s look at what features to consider. First and most importantly, ensure that it has a substantial SPF rating – this number denotes how much protection from UVB rays the product provides; the higher it is, the better. These are responsible for causing painful sunburns and need to be adequately guarded against.
SPF levels alone will not provide enough protection from the sun’s rays; you must also select a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum defence. By doing so, your skin is safeguarded against both UVA and UVB rays.
The former penetrates deeply into the dermis causing premature ageing as well as increased risk of cancerous cells, whereas the latter primarily leads to painful burns but can still contribute towards more severe health issues over time.
When packing sunscreen for your Caribbean getaway:
- ☀️Make sure to select a formula that offers broad-spectrum protection. This will guard against both UVA and UVB rays.
- ☀️Opt for an SPF of 30 or higher – this is the minimum required to ensure maximum sun safety.
- ☀️A water-resistant variety is also essential if you plan on taking a dip in the ocean during your trip.
- ☀️If you have oily or acne-prone skin, choose one labelled as non-comedogenic; it won’t clog pores and cause breakouts.
- ☀️If you have a sensitive skin type, carefully pick a fragrance-free sunscreen that won’t irritate it.
- ☀️Additionally, always double-check the expiration date on your sunscreen since most only last around three years before becoming ineffective.
Types of Sunscreen
There are two main types of sunscreens – chemical and physical.
- Chemical sunscreens act as a shield, absorbing UV rays before they reach your skin.
- Alternatively, physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens serve as an impenetrable barrier by sitting atop of your skin and reflecting away the harmful UV light.
Chemical sunscreens contain compounds like avobenzone and octinoxate, which absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat energy to lessen its harm to the skin. In contrast, physical sunscreens have constituents such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that provide an additional protective layer around the body surface by deflecting harmful rays away from your skin.
Choosing the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin Type
When selecting a sunscreen for yourself, your skin type should be taken into account. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, an oil-free and the light formula is perfect for you. Conversely, if you suffer from dryness or other sensitivity issues on your skin then it may be beneficial to look at moisturising formulas that can help protect against irritation.
Additionally, depending upon the environment in which you’ll find yourself applying the sunscreen – think beach days and swimming trips – consider looking towards water-resistant sunscreens as well as those with higher SPF ratings when travelling to areas where intense sunshine is expected such as Caribbean locales.
How to Choose the Best Reef-Safe Sunscreens
To protect our oceans, reef-safe sunscreens are essential. Reef-safe sunscreens are sunscreens without the following ingredients: oxybenzone (also called benzophenone-3 and BP-3), octinoxate, mineral oil (petrolatum), 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), octocrylene, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), parabens or triclosan—which can be especially damaging to marine ecosystems.
In contrast, reef-friendly sunscreen is mineral-based, providing the essential broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection with active ingredient such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Mineral sunscreens can be divided into two categories: nanoparticles and non-nano. Non-nano is the coral reef friendly and safe sunscreen selection since nanoparticles are smaller in size, which makes them easier to spread on your skin but because they are also smaller particles it is easy for them to be ingested by corals and cause problems to their ecosystem.
Only those mineral sunscreens with a particle size larger than 100 nanometers should be considered ‘reef safe sunscreen‘. In other words, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly sunscreen that won’t cause any harm to ocean life – make sure it’s non-nano.
Reef Safe Sunscreen FAQs:
Which sunscreen ingredients are not reef-safe?
To protect coral reef systems, consumers should be wary of sunscreens containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, homosalate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, para-aminobenzoic acid, parabens and triclosan. In addition to avoiding these ingredients in sunscreen products; shoppers need to check labels for nano particles or lack of “non-nano” or “micronized” zinc or titanium ingredients.
Nano particles are sometimes found in sunscreens that get absorbed into the skin instead of forming a UV barrier on top of it like many other sunscreens with non-nano particle-based formulas do.
What makes sunscreen reef-safe?
By and large, reef-safe sunscreens are free from toxic chemicals, (oxybenzone and octinoxate) that can be damaging to aquatic habitats/marine life such as coral reefs. In addition, these types of sunscreen products do not contain nanoparticles which can have detrimental impacts on the ocean environment.
Best Sunscreen For The Caribbean
In summary, wearing sunscreen often is essential for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the Caribbean sunshine while keeping your skin healthy and protected.