The Best Sunscreens for Swimming

A refreshing swim is just the thing for summer fun — but what sunscreens can really stand up to the wetness?

Swimming is a great way to cool off and have fun in the summer sun, but it’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Sunscreen is essential for swimming, whether you’re in the pool or the ocean. But with so many different types of sunscreen available, it can be hard to know which one is right for you.

We’ll be talking about how to choose a sunscreen for swimming, based on the sunscreen’s SPF rating, water resistance, ingredients, and absorbency.

Best Sunscreens for Swimming

1. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

A lightweight fan favorite
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

A super popular lightweight sunscreen that's invisible on skin

  • SPF 40 broad spectrum chemical sunscreen
  • Weightless, scentless, oil-free formula
  • Controls shine with velvety finish that plays nice with makeup
  • Oxybenzone and octinoxate-free formula
  • Water-resistant up to 40 minutes
  • Antioxidant-rich ingredients like frankincense and hydrating meadowfoam seed

About: Make way for the Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen, an award-winning, lightweight sunscreen option with an impressive SPF40 rating. This chemical sunscreen is making waves due to its practically invisible finish and rapid absorption. With added bonus ingredients like frankincense and meadowfoam seed, it hydrates your skin while fighting off harmful UV rays—it’s like your trusted sidekick on the slopes!


  • Most-Loved Lightweight Formula: Supergoop’s most touted feature is its oil-free, scent-free, reef-friendly formula that is quicker than a skier to absorb into your skin. Its lightweight nature and ultra-fast absorption mean that you’ll forget it’s even there.
  • Added Antioxidants: Supergoop! is not just your ordinary sunscreen. With added antioxidants from frankincense and meadowfoom seed, it provides a hydration burst for your skin, keeping it supple and moisturized.
  • Velvety Finish: No more worrying about the ghastly white cast or a heavy shroud of sunscreen that makes you look like an underwater sea monster. The Unseen Sunscreen provides a velvety finish so that even your makeup can glide on beautifully.
  • Blue Light Protection: Ever been concerned about blue light damage from your gadgets during those break times from the pool? This sunscreen has you covered, thanks to red algae that protect you from harmful electronic blue light.


  • Top-notch UV protection packaged in a remarkably lightweight and fast-absorbing formula
  • Bonus red algae for blue light protection — the cherry on top
  • Ideal for when you want a quick swim but have places to be seen (looking top notch) afterwards


  • It’s quite a bit pricier than your average sunscreen
  • It’s only waterproof for 40 minutes compared to the 80 minutes found in sport sunscreens

2. Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face BB Cream Sunscreen

An affordable, tinted face suncreen
Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Sunscreen

Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Sunscreen

A mattifying BB-cream great for face coverage

  • SPF 50 plus broad spectrum protection
  • Mineral sunscreen with zinc & titanium
  • Subtle tint that blends into many skin tones and covers blemishes
  • Mattifying BB Cream that's oil-free and won't clog pores
  • Includes soothing antioxidant-rich elements like eucalyptus & red algae
  • Non-nano and free of parabens, PABA, sulfate, and others

About: The Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face BB Cream Sunscreen is made for those who love UV protection while looking good. With an SPF rating of 50, this rockstar physical sunscreen lends your skin excellent protection while leaving you with a matte finish that’s hard to resist.

We vote this our top pick for the best waterproof face sunscreen, as the physical ingredients are gentle on the sensitive face skin while still letting you look great and swim like a fish.


  • Designed for Sensitive Skin: Crafted with mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this sunscreen ranks high in the skin safety department. Whether you have sensitive skin that flares up at the first hint of harsh chemicals, you can trust Australian Gold to protect and care for your skin.
  • Clean, Chemical-Free Formula: A minimalistic beauty routine enthusiast’s dream: this sunscreen is oil-free, doesn’t carry any chemical filters, and is non-nano. So, wave goodbye to the likes of oxybenzone, alcohol, dye, oil, phthalate, PABA, petrolatum, and sulfates.
  • Bonus Ingredients for the Win: This sunscreen doubles as a rejuvenating skin food. The infusion of kakadu plum for vitamin C, eucalyptus, and red algae offers enhancing benefits beyond sun protection.
  • Water-Resistant While Looking Great: This gentle face sunscreen is water-resistant up to 80 minutes.
  • Matte Finish with a Subtle Tint: The idea of fine lines can be nerve-wracking, but worry no more. This sunscreen has a lovely matte finish that hides those pesky lines, with a tint that gives you a subtle, healthy glow.


  • Clean, chemical-free formula with the bonus infusion of moisturizing ingredients.
  • Skin-smoothing tint and matte finish are definite wins too.


  • The tint might not appeal to very pale or dark-skinned folks.
  • Rubbing this sunscreen after it’s gotten wet on your face may mess up your tint a bit, but it generally handles water well if you don’t mess with it.

3. Coppertone SPORT Continuous Sunscreen Spray

A solid sport spray
Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Spray

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Spray

  • Chemical sunscreen with SPF 30 broad spectrum protection
  • Spray has continuous sprayer, making it easy to apply
  • Water resistant up to 80 minutes
  • Free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, phthalates, & dyes

About: A chemical sunscreen, the Coppertone SPORT Continuous Sunscreen Spray is perfect for those long beach days when you’ll be and out of the water all day. With an SPF 30 rating and 80-minute water resistance, it’s a great choice for those looking to dive into the waves without constant reapplication.

This sunscreen is our top pick for the best spray sunscreen for swimming as its super easy to apply and water hesitant as heck — however, we’d only recommend using this one on your body since the chemical filters and aerosol spray can be hard on the face. Use something else for your facial skin!


  • Water-Resistance of 80 Minutes: With an ability to claim water resistance for up to 80 minutes, this sunscreen spray provides a wonderful defense against those UV rays while swimming. So, swim, splash, and have fun!
  • Friendly to Skin and Environment: Free from dyes, PABA, octinoxate, or oxybenzone, Coppertone takes care of you and the environment! Designed with minimal harsh chemicals, it aims to avoid skin reactions and protect marine wildlife.
  • Easy Application: The spray design makes this sunscreen super easy to apply. Just a quick spray and you’re set for your underwater adventure!


  • Great water resistance with quick and easy application
  • Ideal for swimmers always on the move


  • The ease and convenience of the spray can be balanced against a slightly greasy feel
  • Probably should be restricted just for body use if you’re prone to breakouts

4. Sun Bum Original

A solid sunscreen lotion
Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

A solid sunscreen lotion made for surfers

  • SPF 50 + broad spectrum chemical sunscreen lotion
  • Waterproof and sweatproof for 80 minutes
  • Oil-free, as well as oxybenzone, octinoxate, gluten, and paraben-free

About: The Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion, a chemical sunscreen, is another solid go-to lotion for swimming escapades. Offering a 50 SPF rating and being water-resistant up to 80 minutes, this sunscreen ensures you’re well protected while hydrating your skin with Vitamin E, whether you’re swimming or surfing.

We vote this the best body sunscreen lotion for swimming as it’s easy to spread, relatively easy on the skin (for a chemical filter sunscreen), and is cruelty-free to boot!


  • Safe and Skincare Savvy: Sun Bum is designed with nourishing ingredients like Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that helps hydrate your skin. A sunscreen that hydrates and protects? Score!
  • Ocean Friendly and Hypoallergenic: While this sunscreen provides robust protection for you, it doesn’t forget our undersea friends. With its ‘reef-friendly’ badge (read: no oxybenzone or octinoxate) and hypoallergenic formula, it’s gentle on the skin, and a friend to the oceans.
  • Smooth Application: This lotion goes on without a fuss, allowing you to get your sun protection in no time and hit the waves.


  • Impressive SPF factor with skin-hydrating benefits
  • Smells great too!


  • The addition of fragrance may irritate some folks with sensitive skin.

5. Neutrogena Beach Defense

Neutrogena Beach Defense

Neutrogena Beach Defense

A high-SPF, reliable chemical sunscreen for beach lounging and the pool

  • SPF 70 and broad spectrum
  • Chemical formula that absorbs into the skin
  • Lightweight, oil-free, PABA-free and oxybenzone-free formula
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Dermatologist recommended suncare brand

About: The Neutrogena Beach Defense sunscreen is a robust chemical sunscreen that comes with a strikingly high SPF of 70 (one of the highest SPF sunscreens on this list). This makes it ideally suited for swimmers whose skin tends to burn easily or wish to maximize their level of protection. Made for beach action, it’s just the thing for a swim in the sea or even the pool.


  • High SPF for Added Protection: With a powerful SPF of 70, this sunscreen shields your skin robustly while swimming or sweating, ensuring lengthy protection against the sun’s harsh effects.
  • Water-Resistant for Swimmers: This formula is water resistant up to 80 minutes.
  • Fast-Absorbing Formula: Nobody likes waiting for the sunscreen to settle in. Designed for quick absorption, you can just slather it on and dive straight into your aquatic fun!
  • Skin-Friendly Ingredients: Adopting a lightweight, oil-free, oxybenzone-free, and PABA-free formula, this sunscreen promises to play nice with your skin, particularly if you’re prone to acne.


  • High SPF paired with fast absorption in a skin-friendly formula


  • While it contains no oxybenzone, it does include other chemical filters like avobenzone which may upset hypersensitive skin types.

6. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

A sensitive mineral sunscreen
BLUE LIZARD Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

BLUE LIZARD Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

A trusted, fan-favorite mineral sunscreen that's easy on sensitive skin

  • SPF 50 and broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen
  • Reef-friendly with no oxybenzone or octinoxate
  • Paraben-free & fragrance-free -- ideal for sensitive skin
  • Sweat and water resistant (80 minutes)

About: Sensitive skin folks, rejoice! The Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen is your gentle yet reliable sun defender. This mineral sunscreen, devoid of harsh chemical actives, is ideal for those who battle skin sensitivities but also live to swim.

This one is our top pick for the best water-proof mineral sunscreen for your body, as its gentle while still being durable enough for several swims.

As a 100% mineral sunscreen with no chemical filters, it’s also a great sunscreen for Hawaii, as it meets Hawaii’s requirements for reef-safe sunscreen.


  • Kind Formula for Sensitive Skin: Swap the sting and redness for gentle care. With a mineral formula devoid of chemical actives, your delicate skin is safe and sound under this sunscreen.
  • Reef-friendly and Paraben-free: Safe for you, safe for the environment. This reef-friendly sunscreen vows to protect your skin and our undersea friends, so it’s a great sunscreen for the ocean too. Oh, it’s also paraben-free; that’s right, say goodbye to unnecessary additives.
  • Sweat and Water Resistant: Despite being so skin-kind, this sunscreen doesn’t shy away from hard work. Offering up to 80 mins of sweat and water resistance, it’s got your back for quite a few laps!


  • Gentle mineral protection with minimal white cast (an impressive feat for a mineral sunscreen!)


  • Those with a darker skin tone could still potentially face a less-than-ideal white cast.

7. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

Neutrogena's old reliable that's priced affordably

  • SPF 70 and broad spectrum
  • Chemical formula that absorbs into the skin
  • Lightweight, sheer, non-greasy feel
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Dermatologist recommended suncare brand
  • Great size for on-the-go

About: Wait, another Neutrogena option? Yes indeed, the Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen is one of those versatile choices that blend high SPF protection (SPF 70, no less!) with exceptional cosmetic compatibility – a win-win situation!


  • Non-Comedogenic and PABA-free: The formulation is designed to avoid clogging your pores while remaining PABA-free. So, bring on that non-greasy protection!
  • Water-Resistance: Sweat it, Swim it, Love it! This swim-friendly sunscreen remains robustly resistant to water for up to 80 minutes.
  • Unnoticeable on Skin: No awkward stares or ghostly selfies! The Dry-Touch sunscreen leaves no white cast, making it suitable for diverse skin tones.


  • High SPF, non-greasy formula, no white-cast, and impressive water-resistance—a solid option for full-bodied beach protection.


  • Does contain oxybenzone, though—which can potentially lead to complications if your skin is sensitive.
  • With oxybenzone, this one isn’t reef-safe, so be careful where you are swimming.
  • Despite boasting a non-greasy feel, some folks still find this lotion slick feeling

8. Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Water Resistant Sunscreen Stick

Great for wet skin
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick

Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick

A waterproof sunscreen stick that can even go on wet skin

  • SPF 70 and broad spectrum protection in stick form
  • Cuts through water, so can we applied to wet or dry skin
  • Dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, oil-free and PABA-free formula.

About: The Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Water Resistant Sunscreen Stick is a kid-friendly sunscreen with a high SPF70 rating. Though it’s designed for the little ones, adults can enjoy this mess-free sun protection too. This chemical sunscreen is ready to battle both wet and dry conditions, making it a perfect companion for water-filled adventures.

This is our number one pick for the best waterproof sunscreen stick for swimming!


  • Wet & Dry Skin Application: A rare find in the sunscreen realm, this product is designed to be applied to both wet and dry skin. Perfect for quick re-applications when your little one (or you!) can’t wait to jump back into the water.
  • Water-Resistant and Kid-Proof. This sunscreen is water-resistant up to 80 minutes — just the thing for swimming kiddos.
  • Convenient Stick Form: Fed up with sticky fingers from sunscreen lotion? The stick form this sunscreen offers is convenient, easy, and hassle-free. Just swiftly glide it over the skin and you’re done!
  • Tested & Approved: Tried and finished by professionals, this sunscreen bears dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, oil-free, and PABA-free badges, making it sensitive-skin friendly.


  • It can be applied on wet AND dry skin? No more drying off wiggling kiddos in-between sunscreen applications
  • Stick format also makes it supremely easy to apply


  • As it is a chemical sunscreen, it uses chemical filters that could upset very sensitive skin. But it works great for most kids!

9. Banana Boat Light As Air Sunscreen Spray

A oil-absorbing spray
Banana Boat Light As Air

Banana Boat Light As Air

An ultra lightweight sunscreen spray

  • SPF 50 broad spectrum chemical filter sunscreen spray
  • Designed to absorb excess oil & moisture to keep you dry
  • Water-resistant and sweat-resistant
  • Spray is convenient and easy to apply

About: Feel light as a feather with Banana Boat’s Light As Air Sunscreen Spray. This chemical sunscreen spray with SPF 50 is sworn by beachgoers who are on the hunt for high protection without the sticky, messy hassle of lotion.

Made without oxybenzone or octinoxate, this spray commits to protect your skin, as well as our brilliant reefs.


  • Wonderful Water Resistance: Despite being light as air, this sunscreen is substantial enough to stay put even after up to 80 minutes in the water.
  • Favorably Formulated: This sunscreen doesn’t compromise on preserving your skin’s health. It’s lightweight and non-greasy, so you can say goodbye to the uncomfortable sticky sheen.
  • Good News for Oily Skin: The formula is designed to absorb excess oil, which is music to oily skin types’ ears!
  • No White Cast: Ghostly casts are a thing of the past with this sunscreen. You can confidently indulge in your beachy days without worrying about snapping an attractive selfie.


  • It’s also fast absorbing and is designed to absorb excess oil, so it’s great for people with oily skin.
  • Fans agree, it feels much more lightweight than other spray sunscreens.


  • Contains avobenzone, which makes it not truly reef-safe, depending on who you ask.
  • Has a tropical fragrance which may be problematic for some – although other users really appreciate the nice scent!

10. Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Lotion

A solid sport spray
Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Spray

Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Spray

A reliable spot sunscreen spray that smells great

  • SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen spray
  • Breathable fast-absorbing formula
  • Sprays at any angle with quick and even coverage
  • Water-resistant and sweat resistant
  • Comes in two pack for more value

About: Straight from the world’s most sun-kissed beaches comes the Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Lotion. This top-notch shield, designed to combat harmful UV rays with an SPF of 50, will make you feel like you’re on permanent island time.

Its quick absorbency and lightweight formula make it a great choice for sun-lovers and water enthusiasts alike.


  • Multiple SPF Choices: One Size Doesn’t Fit All: The assorted SPF options—15, 30, or 50—let you choose the strength of protection that suits your skin’s needs. Mix it up based on your day’s plan, because who doesn’t fancy options?
  • Sweat and Water Resistance: Push those sweat droplets and dive into the clear blue water, all while being confidently protected for up to 80 minutes. An ideal fit for the most vigorous water sports or a calm float on a pool floatie.
  • Fast Absorption and Lightweight: Let your skin breathe free with this quickly absorbing, non-greasy formula. You can strike off feeling heavy or sticky—just like a tropical breeze, it’s light, easy, and skin-friendly.
  • Enticing Coconut Fragrance: Think sunscreen application is boring? Think again! The wafting notes of tropical coconut will transport you to an idyllic Hawaiian beach. It’s like a mini-vacation in a bottle!


  • Quick absorption that goes on easy.
  • Option to choose from several SPF levels.
  • Lovely tropical scent


  • Avobenzone which may not sit well with all skin types or the eco-conscious user.
  • The tropical fragrance—though lovely—might not be your cup of tea if you have sensitivity to scents.

Why Sunscreen is a Necessity for Swimming

When swimming, sunscreen is an absolute must-have necessity.

Sunscreen helps to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays, which can cause skin cancer (yikes)! It’s important to use sunscreen when swimming, even on cloudy days, as up to 80% of the sun’s radiation can penetrate through clouds.

That’s right — 80%!!

Swimmers are especially at risk because when swimming, your skin is more exposed to the sun than it would be if you were just standing or walking around. This is due to the fact that the water reflects the sun’s rays back up at you, increasing your exposure (we love you water, but why must you hurt us so?).

On top of that, water can break down normal, non water-resistant sunscreen formulas, making them less effective.

So, what sunscreen should you use when swimming? We’ll explain below.

What to Look For in a Sunscreen for Swimming

There are several factors to consider when choosing a sunscreen for swimming, such as:

  • Waterproof. In order to stay safe while swimming, you’ll definitely want a sunscreen that’s waterproof. Waterproof sunscreens are designed to provide protection while swimming for 40-80 minutes.
  • Fast-absorbing. A sunscreen that’s easy to apply and dries quickly is ideal for swimming. You don’t want a sunscreen that will take forever to rub in, as this will just make you more likely to skip it altogether. The quicker your sunscreen absorbs, the quicker you can get into the water!
  • Reef-friendly. If you’re swimming in a reef area, it’s important to use a sunscreen that won’t harm the delicate eco-system. Look for sunscreens that are free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, as these ingredients have been shown to be harmful to reefs. Learn more about what makes a sunscreen reef-friendly.
  • High SPF. When choosing a sunscreen for swimming, it’s important to go for a high SPF. SPF stands for sun protection factor and is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. A higher SPF means more protection. For swimming, we recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30-50. If you have pale skin, you’ll want something even higher – up to SPF70.
  • Broad Spectrum. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause premature aging and can penetrate through water, and UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn, so it’s important to be protected from these even when you feel comfortable and cool in the pool.
  • Ease to Apply. No one wants to spend a long time applying sunscreen, especially when they’re trying to enjoy a day at the pool. A sunscreen that’s easy to apply is key. You should be able to apply it quickly and easily, without it being too runny or thick.
  • “Sport” Sunscreens Are a Good Bet. Look for sunscreens that are labeled as “sports” sunscreens, as these sunscreens are almost always both water-resistant and sweat-resistant to stand up against more strenuous outdoor activity.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Sunscreen for Swimming

  • Are you concerned about a white cast? Some sunscreens can leave a white cast on the skin, which can be especially noticeable when you’re wearing a swimsuit and have much of your skin exposed. If you’re concerned about this, look for chemical sunscreens that absorb into the skin, rather than sitting on top of the skin like physical mineral sunscreens do.
  • Are you prone to breakouts? If you have acne-prone skin, look for sunscreens that are non-comedogenic and won’t clog your pores.
  • Do you have sensitive skin or skin that’s easily irritated? If you have sensitive skin, look for sunscreens that are free of common irritants, such as fragrances, alcohols, and essential oils. You might also want to consider physical mineral sunscreens that sit on top of the skin, rather than chemical sunscreens that are absorbed into the skin.

When Swimming With Sunscreen, Don’t Forget To…

  • Wait for the sunscreen to absorb before swimming. If you jump into the pool before your sunscreen has had a chance to absorb, it’s likely that most of it will just wash right off.
  • Avoid midday sun. The sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm, so if you can, try to avoid swimming during these times.
  • Reapply sunscreen often. No matter how waterproof your sunscreen is, it’s important to reapply it every 40-80 minutes, or more often if you’re swimming for long periods. Always check the sunscreen’s instructions to see how often you should reapply.
  • Compliment your sun protection plan with swim shirts. In addition to sunscreen, another great way to protect your skin while swimming is to wear a swim shirt. Swim shirts provide UPF protection, which means they block out both UVA and UVB rays. Wearing a swim shirt is a great way to further reduce your risk of sun damage.

Overall, all of these sunscreens are great choices for swimming – they’re water resistant and have high SPF ratings. If you’re just using the sunscreen on your body, we think a chemical sunscreen is a great pick since the greasiness isn’t as annoying, and you won’t struggle with white cast.

However, if you have skin that irritates easily or aren’t bothered so much by having a white cast on your skin, any of the physical mineral sunscreens we listed here would work great too. Regardless, you’ll likely want a more gentle formula or a mineral sunscreen for your face.

What sunscreen do you think is the best for swimming? Let us know in the comments below!

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