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9 Reef-Safe Sunscreens Perfect for Your Next Summer Vacay

Protect your skin, and the environment, with these SPF picks.
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You know that slathering yourself in SPF when you hit the beach is a must (as is wearing sunglasses and sitting under an umbrella), but what sunscreen should you use? In July 2018, Hawaii became the first state to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinate, since researchers have found these chemicals to be potentially harmful to reefs and other life under the sea. So whether you're vacationing in Hawaii or hitting up your local beach, you may be wondering how to keep your skin safe — without causing any further damage to the environment.

As Consumer Reports points out, it can be tricky to figure out which sunscreens are actually reef safe, since the Food and Drug Administration doesn't strictly regulate sunscreen labels. If you plan on dipping into the ocean, Consumer Reports recommends wearing UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing in lieu of sunscreen. That said, Consumer Reports notes that mineral sunscreens with "non-nanotized" zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are safer for coral reefs than chemical sunscreens. (Non-nano particles are larger than 100 nanometers and are supposed to sink rather than dissolve, so they don't damage marine life.)

With all this in mind, here are our favorite environmentally-friendly, reef-safe sunscreens to pack in your beach bag the next time you take a trip to the ocean.

Image via Imaxtree

This non-nano mineral sunscreen contains only five ingredients (uncoated mineral zinc oxide, sunflower oil, beeswax, seabuckthorn, and vitamin E), all of which are soothing. It's also free of fragrances, making it a perfect pick for sensitive skin types.

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This elegant mineral sunscreen lives up to the hype: The non-nano zinc formula, which also contains the antioxidant California poppy, blends into skin seamlessly without any white residue.

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More of a spray-on sunscreen kind of gal? We got you. Reach for this lightweight non-nano formula, which also happens to be free of reef-damaging chemicals and fragrances.

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This stick non-nano zinc sunscreen is great for on-the-go touchups — you never have to worry about spills in your beach bag. Jojoba oil, avocado oil, and cocoa seed butter in the formula ensure skin feels soft and smooth, not sticky.

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