Protect your skin and protect the water with these sunscreens made specifically for splashing around.
Breaking news announcement: Your skin is kind of important!
And although the ways to have fun in the sun are almost impossible to count, from splashing around in your above-ground swimming pool to doing laps at the local outdoor pool, there is a real serious downside to all those rays. It rhymes with “skin cancer.” (Just kidding, it is skin cancer.)
Putting sunscreen on is something you have likely heard a kajillion times from your parents, friends, swim coach, lifeguards, and medical professionals on television and on the internet.
Lathering on some waterproof sunscreen is a way to make sure that you are able to enjoy more sunshine and all the awesomeness that comes along with summer and the outdoors. The right sunscreen protects our skin from nasty sunburns and keeps our skin from getting prematurely wrinkly.
Some key things to look for:
- Levels of zinc. Zinc is an actual sunblock and not just a sunscreen like many sun lotions. Many long-distance swimmers favor zinc-heavy sunscreens and sunblocks for durability.
- Reef friendly. Some jurisdictions now bar sunscreens that contain oxybenzones. These are harmful chemicals found in many sunscreens that are toxic to corals and marine life.
- SPF levels. It’s tempting to go as high as possible with SPF. SPF 30 must be double the awesome of SPF 15, right? Nope. SPF 15’ sunscreen blocks around 93% of UVB rays while SPF 30 blocks 97%. SPF 30 is usually enough to provide adequate protection.
Below is our hand-picked selection of the best waterproof sunscreens for all of your aquatic activities.
SolRx Waterblock SPF 50 Sunscreen
- Best long-lasting waterproof sunscreen for outdoor swimmers
The SolRx Waterproof sunscreen was specifically designed for outdoor swimmers and surfers. While most sport sunscreens for swimming reflect the sun’s rays, SolRx Waterblock actually blocks the sun’s rays.
SolRx is rated SPF 50, and the reasons that it works so gosh-darn well is the zinc oxide sunscreen sits on top of the surface of the skin instead of being absorbed by it.
Like most sunscreens, apply 20-30 minutes before you get out into the sun to give the lotion a chance to lock-in. SolRx is not only a killer way to protect your skin while out in and on the water, but it is also free of oxybenzones, which means it’s not going to destroy your local neighborhood reef.
Consistently highly reviewed by swimmers and surfers in high-sun climates, the SolRx Waterblock SPF 50 Sunscreen is our favorite choice for high-level sun protection in the water.
TropicSport SPF 30 Waterproof Sunscreen
One of the most consistently highly-ranked waterproof sunscreens on the planet is TropicSport’s SPF 30 Waterproof Sunscreen. Long-lasting, providing protection for up to around 80 minutes, this organic and oxybenzone-free lotion is an excellent choice for swimmers looking to protect their skin in the water.
Unlike many of the “heavy-duty” sunblocks, the TropicSport is smoothly applied, not goopy, thick, and leaving your face all white and ghosty after application.
One trick that experienced users of this product is applying a quick layer of moisturizer before application to help the sunscreen properly “set” on the skin.
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen
Nuetrogena is one of the big players when it comes to skincare. They produce a popular and highly-rated sunscreen that absorbs quickly, is free of oil, and is rated SPF 70.
PABA and oxybenzone-free, the Neutrogrena sunscreen doesn’t last quite as long as our top picks for best waterproof sunscreens, but it is highly effective for short-term exposures in the sun (up to 80-minutes).
Neutrogena recommends that for most effective results, apply 15-minutes prior and to reapply every couple of hours.
Bull Frog Gel
Sunscreens come in a variety of different liquids, and gels are one that you generally ascribe to aloe and post-sun lotions. But Bull Frog Waterproof Sunscreen (Gel) is an SPF 50 sunblock that provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
The Bull Frog Waterproof Sunscreen Gel is free of oil and provides up to 80-minutes of sweat and water-resistance.
One of the realities of gels is the stickiness that comes after the application. On the plus side, it won’t leave your skin chalky and white after use.
Ocean Potion Waterproof Sunscreen Lotion
Rated SPF 50, the Ocean Potion Sunscreen Lotion is reef-friendly, made without oxybenzone, and lasts for around 80-minutes per application.
Ocean Potion Waterproof Sunscreen is made with a combination of natural ingredients, including Vitamins B, C, and E that help protect and nourish your skin while out in the sunshine. Available in 3.4, 6.8, and 10.2-oz, non-greasy Ocean Potion is best administered 20ish minutes before you hop out into the sunshine and water.