Best Sunscreen For Surfers

I tend to spend a lot of time in the water and in the sun. I live near the equator pretty much year-round, so I am constantly in the sun. I know the importance of protecting your skin while using a sunscreen that is not going to damage the ocean. I have looked long and far to try to find the best sunscreen for surfers.

A sunscreen that will protect my skin, not cause breakouts, and not full of chemicals. It is not only better for my skin, but also helps to protect our oceans and reefs.

If you are surfing or spending time in the water where there is coral, your sunscreen could be killing the coral. Recent studies have shown that sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, are killing off our oceans coral.

When shopping for a new sunscreen, you want to ensure that you find one that is going to protect your skin, while protecting the ocean.

Best Sunscreen For Surfers

If you are a surfer then you know the importance of a good sunscreen, one that will last your full surf session. A sunscreen that is not going to wash or wear off while you are out surfing.

The last thing you want to happen is to end your surf session early because you feel your sunscreen is wearing off. You want a sunscreen that can last as long as you can out in the water, but is also good for the ocean and environment. I find that lotion sunscreen or solid faces ticks are the best and last the longest in the water.

You want to avoid spray sunscreens as they have dangerous chemicals in them. Not only do these chemicals enter our atmosphere when we apply them, but they are being applied to your skin and we tend to breathe them.

Also if you do not rub them in properly, they do not provide adequate coverage. They do seem convenient but they are not worth it.

Best Waterproof Sunscreen For Surfers

When spending hours surfing you want a sunscreen that is going to keep up with you. One that is waterproof, long-lasting, and won’t harm your skin or the ocean. I have picked out my top two sunscreens that I use to protect my skin when I am out surfing.  I always make sure I’m fully covered, and I always try to wear a long sleeve surf suit.

  • Sun Bum Mineral 50 SPF I absolutely love the Sun Bum products. It is a great company trying to do good things. All their products are reef-friendly, vegan, and animal cruelty-free. They also stay on and last while in the water. When looking for a good surfing sunscreen I always try to use at least a 50 SPF. I never know how long the waves are going to be good so I want to make sure I have maximum coverage before I go out.
  • Blue Lizard- Contains all of the good ingredients and none of the bad ones. It is lightweight and doesn’t have a grease formula like other sunscreens. It is also a chemical-free formula that helps to protect our ocean’s reefs.

Best Face Sunscreen For Surfers

Being a surfer the most important part of your body you want to protect while you are surfing is your face. This is not only where we have the most sun exposure, but it is also the first thing people see when they look at you.

It is important to keep your face protected. Using a good face sunscreen helps to prevent premature wrinkles and sunspots. It can keep you looking young and will prevent you from getting burnt. The last thing you want to let the sun get in your way of surfing.

Here are my two favorite sunscreens for the face.

  • Neutrogena Baby Face Stick This is hands down my favorite sunscreen to use for my face. It is easy to use, strong enough that it will protect my skin for 3-hour surf sessions, and gentle enough on the skin that it doesn’t cause breakouts. It is in stick form so you can travel with it in your carry on. It is also small making it easy to take with you anywhere you go. I love it so much that I always have one on me.
  • Zinka Face Stick Nothing beats good old fashioned Zinka. It is fun to use and easy to tell when it wears off. I absolutely love that they sell it in the stick form now, as well as the old fashion tube form. I find the stick form easier to use and that it actually lasts longer. There is no more messy application, the stick just glides and stays on long in the ocean.

Best Lip Sunscreen For Surfers

Let’s not forget about protecting your lips. Lips are just as likely to get burnt when you are out surfing, as your face. You can use a good face sunscreen on your lips, but I find that is is almost better to have different protection for your lips. Here is what I keep with my surf gear.

  • Sun Bum Lip Balm I’ve mentioned before that I absolutely love this company and their products. I always have some of their lip balm with me. Whether I’m surfing or just out in the sun, it helps to keep my lips protected.
  • Surface SPF 30 Lip Balm Is great for surfing. Their special formula stays on while you are in the water, which is not always easy to find. It’s all-natural, so you don’t have to worry about any harmful ingredients for your body or the ocean.

Sunscreen Application Tips

Now that we have talked about the best sunscreen for surfers, let’s talk about the application. When applying a lotion sunscreen, always make sure that you apply 20 – 30 minutes before entering the water. This will ensure that it is absorbed into your skin. This will help to protect your skin better and ensure that it won’t be washing off into the ocean. If you are using zinc oxide or a face stick, you don’t have to worry about pre-applying.

Depending on how long you plan on being out in the sun, it is always a good idea to reapply. Yes, this is a hard or nearly impossible thing to do while you are surfing. But if you have anyone with board shorts and pockets, it is easy to throw a face stick in there so you can at least keep your face protected.

We are only given one set of skin, so always keep it protected.

If you are planning a surf trip to Costa Rica, check out my blog on What to Pack for Costa Rica

Disclosure: There may be some affiliate links in this article and I may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. This is at no extra cost to you and helps keep this site running


  • October 3, 2019

    I hope that you won’t stop writing such interesting articles. I’m waiting for more of your content. I’m going to follow you.


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