What Is Sunscreen, How Often To Reapply & More

As surfers we are constantly in the sun. Wearing sunscreen is our best defense to protect our skin from the damaging rays of the sun.

We’ve got sunscreen that comes in sticks, sprays, tins and lotions. Just pick one and wear it.

Why Sunscreen Is Important For Surfers

Sunscreen helps to protect the skin from damaging sun rays that may predispose surfers to skin cancer. Apart from this, sunscreen also protects the skin from premature aging and visible damage.

A good sunscreen will a minimum SPF of 15 should be able to do the job quite well. However, there are several other factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing the best sunscreen for surfing.

Don’t Burn. Protect Your Skin From The Sun

Sunscreen on Amazon

Photo Title Price Buy
Sun Bum Original...image Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion | Vegan and Reef Friendly (Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Free) Broad Spectrum Moisturizing UVA/UVB Sunscreen with Vitamin E | 8 oz $15.99 ($2.00 / Fl Oz)
Sun Bum Original...image Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray I Vegan and Reef Friendly (Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Free) Broad Spectrum Moisturizing UVA/UVB Sunscreen with Vitamin E I 6 oz $15.99 ($2.66 / Ounce)
Badger - SPF...image Badger - SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream - Unscented - Broad Spectrum Water Resistant Reef Safe Sunscreen, Natural Mineral Sunscreen with Organic Ingredients 2.9 fl oz $28.23 ($9.73 / Fl Oz)

Sunscreen Protection Factor (SPF)

The SPF factor shows how much a sunscreen will protect your skin from harmful sun rays. An SPF of 15 means a protection that is 15 times greater than the protection offered by bare skin. While an SPF of 15 should offer sufficient protection, a SPF of 30 will block over 96.7% of the UVB rays.

Ideally, surfers should aim for a sunscreen with SPF factor ranging from 15 to 50. Remember that the effectiveness of SPF is influenced by how well you apply the sunscreen and what you do once you have it on, including going for a surf.

Block both UVA & UVB Rays

Harmful rays from the sun come in two main categories: UVA and UVB. Both rays are invisible and may be a cause for skin cancer. UVA rays are more common year round and are responsible for tanning. UVB rays are more intense and cause sunburn. They are common in direct sunlight.

A good sunscreen should have a UVA/ UVB rating of four or five stars.

Sunscreen that is Water Resistant

We are surfers after all, so a good sunscreen should be water resistant. A surf-specific sunscreen should not be easily washed off by water as you are surfing.

Quality Sunscreen Ingredients

A good sunscreen for surfing could be made with natural ingredients and/or chemical ingredients.

While there is debate about which is best, one way to think about is that natural ingredients such as zinc oxide deflect UV radiation and provide a provide a physical barrier between you and the sun, while chemical ingredients absorb the harmful radiation.

How To Use Sunscreen When Surfing

Surfing sunscreen can come in the form of creams, lotions, or sprays. Sunscreens that are predominantly made from zinc oxide should be applied before surfing.

Those that are made with chemical ingredients will need 20-30 minutes to start acting. Hence, they should be applied in advance before you can hit the waves.

Sunscreen must be spread evenly on all exposed parts of the skin. Don’t rush to get into the surf only to come out with a sun burn. Take your time to apply the sunscreen correctly, then get to surfing.

Sunscreen For Surfers

The factors listed above, and not the price, should guide you when selecting the best sunscreen for surfing. We have analyzed the market and come up with sunscreens that should suit your needs as a surfer.