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What's your favorite sunscreen?

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
TX
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What's your favorite sunscreen?

I know this topic has been covered before, but many of the threads are old and there may be some new/improved products on the market that I'm not aware of. Going to Isla in June, and it's going to be hot, hot, sweaty-hot-hot. Hubby loves to tan, but I prefer to protect my skin (actually I'm tattooed and am not about to let the sun ruin my ink investment!). At home I wear an SPF 50 but it's rather greasy. I don't know if I can stand that greasy feeling on my skin while I'm already melting due to the heat. I need something that is very sweat resistant. Just wondering if any of you have a favorite that you wouldn't leave home without.

Richmond, Texas
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1. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

I am very fair and use Neutrogena products. www.neutrogena.com/category/sun.do?nType=1

They have a SPORT line which is great for sweaty skin. They also have an Ultra Sheer Drytouch line. I've used both and have had really good luck.

San Jose, California
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2. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

This is what I use:

bananaboat.com/products/15143.aspx…

I am pale and have sensitive skin and this one seems to be the best of all worlds. I am also not very religious about reapplying sunscreen and I do get in and out of the water. Still, it holds up. It does not feel greasy at all - I put it on after my shower, before I get dressed and my skin is totally good. You do have to rub it in well, I think it is the zinc oxide, but if you massage it in well, it does disappear into the skin.

San Jose, California
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3. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

aggie - I like the Neutrogena stuff too. For daily wear, not sport or swimming, I use this on my face everyday:

http://www.neutrogena.com/product/ultra+sheer+liquid+daily+sunscreen+broad+spectrum+spf+70.do?sortby=ourPicks

I searched and searched for a good daily facial sunblock and this stuff is really great. Very thin, absorbs easily into the skin, and doesn't look at all shiny after about 5-10 min. Anyway, I know this is a bit off topic from the OP's question, but I am really excited about this find :-)

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

I like the Coppertone Factor 50 Oil Free Spray - it doesn't have the greasy feeling, but still gives good protection.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

As a fan of the area's reef system, please indulge my appeal to wear reef-friendly sunscreen if you plan on entering the water. Here's an article I wrote for my scuba club back in 2010--I haven't researched it since then so there may be more products available now. We've had no trouble at all finding it; we use Kiss My Face.

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Are your sunscreens destroying the world’s reefs?

If you’ve been to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula lately, you’ve seen a trend that promises to expand to dive and snorkeling sites around the world: mandatory use of “reef-friendly” or “biodegradable” sunscreens. This is already true at Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Garrafón Park and Cozumel, where any other type of sun product is confiscated (sombreros off to Mexico for taking the lead on this issue!). We were required to use biodegradable sunscreen while swimming with the whale sharks off Isla Mujeres in September. Why is sunscreen becoming such a hot issue?

It is estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers, snorkelers and divers worldwide each year, and it was recently found that many of the ingredients commonly used in these products are harmful to marine ecosystems, particularly coral reefs. These products contribute to viral infections in coral and are responsible for much of the bleaching observed on reefs over the past several years (turns out that global warming is not entirely to blame). But selecting appropriate sunscreens can be tricky: there are not yet any regulations regarding what is considered “reef-friendly” or “biodegradable,” so many manufacturers are playing fast and loose with these terms in an effort to promote their products.

So what do I look for?

First, it’s important to understand how sunscreens work: they contain either chemicals (i.e., benzophenone) that absorb UV rays or minerals (i.e., zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) that reflect them. In general, look for the latter—the mineral approach is not only better for the reefs, it’s also been found that many of the chemicals used in sunscreens can harm your own body when used over the long term.

Mexico’s eco parks all ban octocrylene, benzophenone, parsol 1789, hexyldecanol, dimethyl capramide, cetyl dimethicone, methylparaben, polyethylene, propylparaben and butylcarbamate. Also avoid PABA, cinnamate, octinoxate, oxybenzone, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor or the preservative butylparaben (or any paraben, for that matter). Note that some sunscreens currently promoted as “biodegradable” may use these ingredients. Instead, opt for sunscreens that use minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients (many use a combination of both) and include only plant-based or other organic ingredients such as aloe as supplemental ingredients.

Reef-friendly sunscreens are a bit more difficult to find and may cost more than the standard brands. Yes, the marine parks in Mexico just happen to have them for sale, but purchasing them there, where they have a captive audience, may require a financial advisor. Buy them before your trip, and you’ll have better results checking with sporting goods or health food stores than with drug stores or other mainstream retailers.

While this is not meant as an endorsement of any particular brand or an all-inclusive list, the following manufacturers offer reef-friendly products: MexiTan, Caribbean Solutions, Kiss My Face, Soleo Organics and UV Natural. Check the label closely—not every product made by these manufacturers is necessarily reef-friendly.

Many divers rely on full-length dive skins, wide-brimmed hats and simply staying in the shade whenever possible as their means of avoiding a burn. But don’t forget that even the sunscreen you may use while lazing on the beach will eventually find its way to the reef once you enter the water. The best approach is to take only reef-friendly sunscreen on your next trip—you can save the old stuff for working around the yard or going to a ball game here at home. Even if your destination doesn’t yet mandate biodegradable sunscreens, you’ll know that you’re doing your part to help preserve the world’s reefs.

TX
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6. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

Thanks very much for the recommendations! I'll definitely check these brands out.

Thanks DMartin for the very informative post! Very good for folks who plan to enter the water to know about reef-friendly products. You may recall my "little fish issue", however, and I will not be getting in there myself. ;-)

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

If considering a mineral based sunscreen (zinc, titanium), you may wish to have a look at the debate about nano particles of these metals - this article gives a brief overview huffingtonpost.com/hillary-peterson/sunscree…

I am allergic to both zinc and titanium, and cannot wear suncreen that contains them. I was looking for a reef safe suncreen a couple of weeks ago, and came across the information on nano particles and free radicals, and thought it interesting. I have to say, if I could wear the mineral sunscreens, I'd be taking the ones with the larger particles and risk a white haze, than the nano ones, which I think I would like to see some more data on before using.

According to Consumer Reports who tested sunscreens that claimed not to have nano particles: "Four of them, all labeled natural or organic, actually did contain nanoparticles: Aubrey Organics Natural Sun SPF 25 Green Tea Protective Sunscreen, Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen, Kiss My Face SPF 30+ Sun Screen with oat protein complex and Mexitan SPF 30 Sunscreen. Only one product—Zinka Colored Nosecoat—turned out to be actually free of the particles."

As a couple of these brands were mentioned by the previous poster, I thought it worth mentioning.

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

Good info, emma. I'll bet readers didn't think that picking a sunscreen could be so complicated. You need to take a scientist with you to the store.

Another example of the lack of regulation over sunscreen composition and labeling.

Richmond, Texas
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9. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

We were in Akumal a couple years ago (met DMartin and his lovely wife there). For that trip I used Morada Green Sunscreen that is supposed to be reef friendly. I hope it was. I really wanted to be kind to the turtles.

It did ieave a slight whitish haze on the skin, but not too bad. I'm pretty white on most days, so I think it blended in pretty well with my natural skin color!

http://moradagreen.com/ I ordered online, Not sure if it is marketed anywhere in my area or not.

Darien,Connecticut
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10. Re: What's your favorite sunscreen?

The June issue of Real Simple magazine has an very good description of 9 fairly common sunscreens you may want to read before you go.