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The Best Sunscreen for Mexico: Biodegradable and Reef Safe Sunscreens

The Best Sunscreen for Mexico: Biodegradable and Reef Safe Sunscreens

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Every year millions of tourists flock to Mexico to enjoy the colonial towns and marvelous beaches. Many of them learn the hard way that the sun in Mexico needs to be taken seriously. When it comes to choosing the best sunscreen for Mexico you should consider that sunscreens impact on the environment. There is a different type of sunscreen to be worn in the water and other ones to be worn outside of the water. It is also important to realize that sunscreen is just one factor in the sun protection plan. You should also consider:

The best sunscreen for Mexico
Bring some shade if you want to camp out all day at the beach

Sunscreen is just one layer of protection and it needs to be reapplied every 85 minutes. Reapplying sunscreen that frequently can be difficult when the average surf session is two hours and much longer when the point breaks are firing.  

You may also like: The Best Beaches near Guadalajara

The best reef safe sunscreen for Mexico
Looking for some shade

If you are going to be spending more than an hour in the sun it is important to plan ahead. That includes sunscreen, SPF-rated clothing, a good hat, sunglasses, and shade. If you want to spend long hours enjoying all of the amazing outdoor activities that Mexico has to offer, you need to protect yourself from the sun.

The best-looking tans come from repetitive short exposures anyway. Long exposure to the sun, even with a good application of sunscreen, is going to damage your skin.

The best reef safe sunscreen for Mexico

I am a lifelong surfer who spends a lot of time in the sun. I learned at an early age that skincare is an important part of surfing until old age. I have seen plenty of beachgoers with a bandage on the nose where the skin cancer was recently removed. The people who don’t take sun-related precautions will not get to spend as much time playing outdoors as the people who do. You are going to need some sunscreen for Mexico.

The best reef safe sunscreen for Mexico
That looks like fun. Could you spend five hours in the sun without good sunscreen?

There are two main categories when it comes to the best sunscreens for Mexico: are you going in the water or staying out of the water. The biodegradable sunscreens are incredibly important if you plan on visiting the ocean or freshwater lakes. It is not as much of a concern if you will be touring the San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, or Pyramids of Teotihuacan. There are different sunscreen considerations for each type of travel destination type of travel activities. 

The best traditional sunscreens for Mexico
You need a good hat and good sunscreen on a hot day at Teotihuacan.

The best reef-safe sunscreens for Mexico 

More and more beaches are requiring reef-safe sunscreens which can be hard to find and expensive in small towns. Even if reef-safe sunscreen isn’t required you should keep it in mind because we want to preserve as much marine life as possible. 

If you think about the number of tourists that flock to Mexico’s most popular beach destinations like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, the quantity of sunscreen washed into the ocean is measured in tons not bottles. 

I don’t know if you have ever tried putting on sunscreen when you are already sweating in the sun. A lot of it washes off. Now imagine those tons of sunscreen being toxic to marine life for multiple reasons. 

The two main concerns of a reef-safe sunscreen are chemicals and nanoparticles. Oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene bleach coral and are toxic to corals, algae, mussels, urchins, fish, and dolphins. Mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide should NOT be nanosized, or less than 100 nanometers in diameter. If the particles are too small they can seep into the corals and suffocate them

The best reef safe sunscreen for Mexico

Reef Safe Sunscreen for Mexico

These are the best reef-safe sunscreens you should consider for Mexico if you will be in the water. They are oxybenzone-free and do not contain nanoparticles. Most importantly, they work. I like to combine two different types of sunscreen: one liquid and one face stick. The liquid sunscreens are thick with a viscosity closer to honey than to water. They form the base coat. After the base coat, I apply a face stick to the forehead, nose, ears, and the back of my neck. It is best to apply these sunscreens before it gets hot and before you are in the sun. Once you start sweating, it is really hard to apply sunscreen.

Thinksport and Sun Bum mineral sunscreen for kids
I barrow my son’s baby sunscreen and it works wonders

Reef-Safe Face Stick Sunscreen for Mexico

Vertra face stick

Reusable Tins

The best traditional sunscreens for Mexico

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