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Reef Safe Sunscreens: SPF 50?

Does anyone have any recommendations for an SPF 50 sunscreen that is also reef safe?


Thank you!


Re: Reef Safe Sunscreens: SPF 50?

La roche posay tinted sunscreen works wonders and is very lightweight 

Re: Reef Safe Sunscreens: SPF 50?

@Neonecology  Which definition of “reef safe” are you following? It’s not an industry standard term (nor is it backed by clinical studies that use real life scenarios), so it means different things in different places. 


Example: by Hawaii’s legal standards, “reef safe sunscreen” is currently any sunscreen that doesn’t contain oxybenzone and/or octinoxate. That means these chemical sunscreens should qualify as reef safe in Hawaii: 


  • Eucerin Advancd Hydration SPF 50 Sunscreen (water resistant up to 80 minutes) 
  • Eucerin Oil Control Face Sunscreen SPF 50 
  • Eucerin Age Defense Face Sunscreen SPF 50 
  • La Roche-Posay Antheliios Melt-in Milk Sunscreen SPF 100 
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Sunscreen SPF 60 
  • La Roche-Posay UV Correct Face Sunscreen SPF 70 
  • La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Fluid Face Sunscreen SPF 60

Those can be found at your local drugstore or Target, if you’re in the US. 


Other places might consider “reef safe” to exclude all chemical sunscreens, leaving you with just mineral sunscreens. And even in that category, some places claim titanium dioxide’s not reef safe, further limiting the scope to just zinc oxide sunscreens. Within that narrow field, consider: 


  • Eucerin Sun Sensitive Mineral Baby Sunscreen SPF 50 
  • Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 (I’ve tried this one; if your skin tone’s deeper than medium, this will leave a white cast) 
  • Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 

Those can also be found at drugstores and Target. 

EDIT: changed “oxybenzone and octinoxate”  to “oxybenzone and/or octinoxate” to better convey what Hawaii officially bans. They’re considering banning more UV filters but are waiting for more research—which they should’ve done in the first place. The study their ban’s based on subjected corals to waaay more sunscreen than is actually found in oceans, even around Hawaii. Some scientists who study coral reefs say sunscreens aren’t killing reefs. Run-off pollution, overfishing, and climate change are the real causes. 

Re: Reef Safe Sunscreens: SPF 50?

Thank you so much for the informative response! 

Re: Reef Safe Sunscreens: SPF 50?

@Neonecology  No problem!


FYI, I just edited my comment because it might’ve implied you can bring to Hawaii a sunscreen that contains just 1 of the 2 banned UV filters. Both filters are banned in that state; sunscreens can’t contain either of them. 

Re: Reef Safe Sunscreens: SPF 50?

@Neonecology, the following sunscreens have a SPF of at least 50 and are considered reef safe:


Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare All-Physical Dark Spot Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 1.7 oz 

COOLA Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 70 Peach Blossom 6.0 oz/ 177 mL 

COOLA Classic Face Sunscreen SPF 50 White Tea 1.7 oz/ 50 mL 


I've used the first two before (DDG on face, Coola spray on body) and liked the formulation on both. 

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