Choosing the Best Sunscreen for Beach Vacations [Updated 2019]

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Buying the right sunscreen is important if you are going to be spending any time outside and want to make sure that you can protect your skin. If you are taking a vacation to the beach, then it is even more imperative that you buy the right sunscreen. The best sunscreen for beach vacation will ensure that you are protected while you nap, play, and read and will help to keep you from getting burned and damaging your skin. While there are many sunscreens you can buy, I found that there are a few things that set the best sunscreen apart from others, making these the top five sunscreens you should consider for your beach trip.

When comparing sunscreens, I made sure that the ones I chose for this list were affordable, offered a high SPF, and were water-resistant for a long period of time. It’s important to always reapply your sunscreen when you are out in the sun but when you choose a sunscreen that will stand up to water, then you won’t have to worry about it washing off when you are playing in the ocean. This ensures that you or your family can play all day long if you want and you won’t have to worry about anyone having his or her skin damaged.

Comparison Chart

Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Cream - 2.9 fl oz Tube
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen Body Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 70, Oil-Free and Fast-Absorbing, 6.7 oz (Packaging May Vary)
Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ (3 ounce)
Blue Lizard Sport Original Mineral-Based Sunscreen – Original Australian Formula – SPF 30+ UVA/UVB Protection, 5 oz
Nature's Gate Natural Aqua Block Vegan Sunscreen Lotion, Water Resistant, Fragrance Free, Paraben Free, Phthalate Free, Oxybenzone Free, Cruelty Free, SPF 50, 4 Ounce Recyclable Bottles (Pack of 3)
Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Cream - 2.9 fl oz Tube
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen Body Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 70, Oil-Free and Fast-Absorbing, 6.7 oz (Packaging May Vary)
Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ (3 ounce)
Blue Lizard Sport Original Mineral-Based Sunscreen – Original Australian Formula – SPF 30+ UVA/UVB Protection, 5 oz
Nature's Gate Natural Aqua Block Vegan Sunscreen Lotion, Water Resistant, Fragrance Free, Paraben Free, Phthalate Free, Oxybenzone Free, Cruelty Free, SPF 50, 4 Ounce Recyclable Bottles (Pack of 3)
Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Cream - 2.9 fl oz Tube
Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Cream - 2.9 fl oz Tube
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen Body Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 70, Oil-Free and Fast-Absorbing, 6.7 oz (Packaging May Vary)
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen Body Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 70, Oil-Free and Fast-Absorbing, 6.7 oz (Packaging May Vary)
Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ (3 ounce)
Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ (3 ounce)
Blue Lizard Sport Original Mineral-Based Sunscreen – Original Australian Formula – SPF 30+ UVA/UVB Protection, 5 oz
Blue Lizard Sport Original Mineral-Based Sunscreen – Original Australian Formula – SPF 30+ UVA/UVB Protection, 5 oz
Nature's Gate Natural Aqua Block Vegan Sunscreen Lotion, Water Resistant, Fragrance Free, Paraben Free, Phthalate Free, Oxybenzone Free, Cruelty Free, SPF 50, 4 Ounce Recyclable Bottles (Pack of 3)
Nature's Gate Natural Aqua Block Vegan Sunscreen Lotion, Water Resistant, Fragrance Free, Paraben Free, Phthalate Free, Oxybenzone Free, Cruelty Free, SPF 50, 4 Ounce Recyclable Bottles (Pack of 3)

​Our Top Picks Reviewed

1. ​Badger SPF 35: Just a Few Ingredients Make the Best Sunscreen for Beach Vacation

Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Cream - 2.9 fl oz Tube

Review

This sunscreen is well-known for being one of the most powerful sunscreens available on the market, although this does mean that you will ​sometimes have to pay a little bit more for it. Badger sunscreen offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays due to the high concentration of zinc oxide in the product. Additionally, since there are only five ingredients, it’s easy to make sure that you will not be using a product that may cause you to break out or have a reaction.

Free from fragrance, this is one of the best sunscreen options if you have sensitive skin as you won’t have to worry about a number of strange ingredients causing problems. While this sunscreen does tend to leave a white cast on the skin when it has been applied correctly, this is a great way to make sure that you did not miss a spot during application and is very common in sunscreens with so much zinc oxide in them.

PROS

  • ​It lasts for up to 80 minutes even when you are in the water
  • ​The very simple formula is biodegradable
  • ​It has a high concentration of zinc oxide

CONS

  • ​It is a bit thick which can make it more difficult to spread then some other options

2. ​Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 70: Relying on Advanced Technology to Protect You

Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen Body Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 70, Oil-Free and Fast-Absorbing, 6.7 oz (Packaging May Vary)

Review

​While you do need to reapply every sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you are going to be getting in and out of the ocean on a regular basis, this can be time-consuming and is easy for many people to forget to actually do. Rather than suffering the consequences of a major burn when you forget to reapply, using this sunscreen from Neutrogena will help to protect you for hours at a time, making long days at the beach as enjoyable as possible. The tropical fragrance will make you feel as if you are on vacation even if you only manage to escape to the beach for a few hours.

This sunscreen relies on Helioplex technology to provide you with great protection. This means that it uses oxybenzone and avobenzone together to offer complete protection against UVB and UVA rays. While this does provide incredible protection, people with sensitive skin generally need to steer clear of this product as the chemicals can cause irritation. If your skin isn’t sensitive and you want great protection for hours at a time, then this is a wonderful choice as it is easy to apply and rub in and it won’t streak.

PROS

  • ​It's smooth and easy to apply
  • ​It lasts for hours, even after multiple dips in the water

CONS

  • ​Sensitive people may possibly experience an allergic reaction to the ingredients
  • ​It's not reef-safe

3. ​Thinksport SPF 50: Budget-Friendly and Great for Sensitive Skin

Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ (3 ounce)

Review

It can be difficult to find a sunscreen that is gentle on the skin but still offers great protection for users; however, Thinksport is known for working hard to create environmentally-responsible products that really work. This sunscreen offers a high percentage of zinc oxide, which means that it can be difficult to spread and rub into your skin but it will provide you with natural protection so you don’t need to worry about putting dangerous chemicals all over your body. Because this sunscreen protects against the sun without dangerous chemicals, you won’t have to worry about your safety or the health and safety of your family members.

As a top-rated sunscreen, Thinksport is a great option for anyone who is looking for a natural sunscreen that still smells good and is a little bit easier to rub in so that it does not leave highly visible white streaks on the body.

PROS

  • ​It provides great water resistance for multiple trips into the ocean
  • ​It is rated very low on a toxicity scale, making it healthy for you and for ocean life
  • ​It offers high SPF

CONS

  • ​The thick formula is difficult to spread evenly
  • ​It has to be reapplied often to maintain full protection

​4. ​Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Sport Original Mineral-Based Sunscreen – Original Australian Formula – SPF 30+ UVA/UVB Protection, 5 oz

Review

One problem with wearing sunscreen all day long is that it can dry out and damage your skin, but this product from Blue Lizard is designed to help nourish your skin while protecting it. Thanks to the addition of Vitamin E, this sunscreen offers exceptional protection and helps to keep skin smooth and supple, which is a great way to diminish any negative effects from the sun.

By combining both chemical and mineral UV protectors, this product is able to stand up to water without getting washed off. While it still needs to be reapplied throughout the day, such as any other sunscreen, this is a great product for athletes to wear in and out of the water as it won’t easily wash or sweat off. This makes it perfect for swimming, cycling, running, and more.

Because it offers broad spectrum SPF 30+ coverage, this product protects skin from up to 97% of the sun’s rays. This is perfect for users who are going to be spending long hours outdoors in the sun. Additionally, the bottle turns blue when exposed to harmful UV light. This is a great reminder to users to make sure that they are protected and to reapply, if necessary.

Unlike other sunscreens that simply can’t stand up to UV rays without allowing some damage to the skin, this product has been perfected to prevent damage easily. It is the classic Australian-strength product, which means that it can easily stand up to hot rays all day long without allowing the user to get burned.

PROS

  • ​Offers up to 80 minutes of water resistant protection
  • ​Contains Vitamin E to help heal and improve skin
  • ​​Contains mineral zinc oxide to help deflect UV rays from the skin

CONS

  • ​Can be difficult to spread evenly
  • ​​Contains oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are harmful to coral reefs

​5. ​Nature's Gate Natural Aqua Block Vegan Sunscreen Lotion

Nature's Gate Natural Aqua Block Vegan Sunscreen Lotion, Water Resistant, Fragrance Free, Paraben Free, Phthalate Free, Oxybenzone Free, Cruelty Free, SPF 50, 4 Ounce Recyclable Bottles (Pack of 3)

Review

One thing to consider when shopping for sunscreen is how well it will stand up to water and sweat without having to be reapplied, and this natural sunscreen can last for an impressive 80 minutes. This great water resistance is perfect for users who are going to be swimming, running, or simply want protection when sweating in the hot sun.

Because this product relies on all-natural ingredients, users won’t have to worry about whether or not they will be damaging the environment when they use it. Unlike other sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, which can harm coral reefs, this sunscreen relies on minerals and other natural ingredients to offer safe and gentle protection from the sun.

Not only are the natural ingredients included in this sunscreen great for blocking harmful rays, but they also help to smooth and hydrate the skin. This is ideal for anyone who suffers from dry skin when they are out in the sun. Rather than having to remember to use both a sunscreen, as well as a lotion or moisturizer, you can simply rely on this product to protect and soothe dry skin.

The included aloe vera juice is a welcome addition to this product, as it helps to stop the pain from any burn that may occur due to forgetting to reapply. This soothes the skin and makes it bearable to be out in the sun, while at the same time offering additional protection from the sun.

PROS

  • ​​Free from parabens, fragrances, oxybenzone, and animal products, making it safe for people and the environment
  • ​Created with sustainably harvested herbs and extracts to ensure limited damage to the environment
  • ​​Offers protection of SPF 50

CONS

  • ​​Can be difficult to rub in and may leave the skin feeling sticky

​The Verdict

While buying sunscreen for a trip to the beach is a personal decision, if you want to make sure that your family is protected without the danger of harsh chemicals absorbing into their skin and bloodstream, then you will want to opt for the Badger sunscreen on this list. While many natural sunscreens simply do not provide the necessary protection that you want for a day at the beach, this powerful sunscreen will.

It is not as easy to rub into your skin as other sunscreens but for the ultimate protection, Badger is your best choice. If you are worried about whether or not it will offer enough protection throughout the day then it is a good idea to reapply it on a regular basis for the best protection.

Related: Best Tanning Oils

Buying the right sunscreen is important if you are going to be spending any time outside and want to make sure that you can protect your skin. #beachlife #beach

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