Mineral versus chemical sunscreens… nontoxic versus toxic… reef safe versus not reef safe. What really does it all mean and what if you just DON’T like mineral sunscreen? Here to share some recent things I’ve learned about SPF and my two favorite reef friendly chemical sunscreens that are working for our family.
When I first switched over into cleaner living and clean beauty, I was initially scared off by chemical SPF thinking that it was not only toxic to my body, but also harmful to the environment by killing off the coral reefs.
Turns out… that’s not exactly the case and in some scenarios, a cleaner chemical SPF may be a better fit for you and your family.
So, turns out chemical SPF isn’t all bad.
It’s certain ingredients in chemical SPF that can give them a bad wrap.
However, there are a few brands that do not formulate SPF with these questionable chemical ingredients.
You want to avoid these specific chemicals in your chemical SPF as the worst offenders: oxybenzone + octinoxate
I also believed ALL mineral SPFs were totally safe.
There can be nano particles in mineral SPFs that can seep into the skin and cause issues, as well as, wreck havoc on coral reefs.
So while you’re at it, you want to ensure your mineral SPF non nano (usually a zinc oxide).
My daughter is currently 3.5 years old and she’s a fair maiden compared to me with my more olive/tan skin tone. So I’m very diligent about slathering her in SPF when we spend our summers outside and by the beach since we live in NJ (easy access to beach days).
Her entire life thus far, I solely used mineral SPF on her. ThinkBaby, Blue Lizard Sensitive and Beautycounter… as the safest, clean options.
But let’s be honest: even the easiest blending mineral SPFs are still thick and can cause staining on beach chairs, swimwear, etc.
I also found, in certain strong sun environments, sometimes the mineral SPF couldn’t protect well enough, especially if water play was involved.
Nothing makes you think faster than seeing your pale baby get her first sign of a subtle sunburn.
So, after doing some further research and realizing not all chemical SPFs are bad, I introduced a couple chemical SPFs into our routine this summer and I’ve been SO happy with the sun protection we’ve experienced even in HOURS under the sun and splashing.
Sometimes, I will even layer the chemical and mineral formulas for a double dose of protection in places like her face, ears and shoulders.
Supergoop was the first chemical sunscreen I remembered being a cleaner option, so I picked up their SPF50 and have been pleasantly surprised at how well it dries down – NO sticky residue and no strong, chemical smell.
Shortly after, a good (clean beauty loving) friend of mine was raving about a smaller brand, Florida Squeezed SPF.
I ordered their SPF30 (for me and my husband) and their SPF50 sprays and also have been loving the protection. I wore it on vacation here in South Carolina this week for 3 hours in direct sunlight (11am-2:30pm) with NO sign of sunburn.
Florida Squeezed is scented with real oranges from Florida and smells like an orange Julius! It’s pretty yummy in the sunshine.
I’d say Supergoop dries down with slightly less residue, but Florida Squeezed smells better, so it’s totally up to you which you’d like more. Protection wise, they are identical to me.
Best part? NO WHITE RESIDUE!
I hope this helps you solve some sunscreen gaps in your routine and ease your mind if you’ve been a bit let down by the mineral SPF options on the market.