Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen review

This sunscreen blends in nicely but leaves a bit of an oily residue. It also has a fruity/tropical fragrance.

I loved many things about the Grand Wailea resort in Maui, but one of the most delightful surprises was the easily accessible sunscreen. It’s such a nice convenience for anyone who forgot to pack sunscreen, or couldn’t pack much of it in their already-full luggage. After all, I can only fit so much sunscreen (and by so much, I mean too little) in my TSA-approved baggie. So when I attended a bachelorette party in San Diego a few weeks ago, I was delighted to discover that my friend had included bottles of Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen in everyone’s goodie bags.

A few highlights: It’s a chemical sunscreen that’s water/sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It’s not reef-safe, since it’s a chemical sunscreen. Even though some resources say that as long as sunscreen is oxybenzone-free, it’s OK, my time in Hawaii taught me to try to opt for non-nano zinc oxide sunscreens if I was going to dip into the ocean. Note that even among companies in Hawaii, this opinion varies. The Four Seasons Maui marked Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen as “Reef Friendly” (because it does not contain oxybenzone or octinoxate, the two chemical sunscreen filters banned by Hawaiian law), even though it contains other chemical sunscreen filters.

Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Review

Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen ingredients

Active ingredients: avobenzone (3%), homosalate (5%), octisalate (3%), octocrylene (10%)
Inactive ingredients: water, butyloctyl salicylate, hydrated silica, vp/hexadecene copolymer, styrene/acrylates copolymer, dimethicone, polyester-8, caprylyl methicone, ethylhexyl stearate, trideceth-6, glyceryl stearate, peg-100 stearate, fragrance, sodium polyacrylate, behenyl alcohol, dimethyl capramide, ethylhexylglycerin, trimethylsiloxysilicate, xanthan gum, polyaminopropyl biguanide, tocopheryl acetate, bht, disodium edta, methylisothiazolinone

This sunscreen contains two active ingredients at the maximum allowable concentration set by the FDA: avobenzone and octocrylene. The other ingredients are included at percentages that don’t reach the maximum level allowed by the FDA.

Another interesting rule from the FDA: “The finished product must have a minimum SPF of not less than the number of sunscreen active ingredients used in combination multiplied by 2.” Since this particular product contains four active ingredients, it would need to be at least SPF 8—and it does!

This sunscreen contains the same inactive ingredients as its SPF 50 equivalent (Sun Bum Original Sunscreen SPF 50), but the SPF 50 product contains double the concentration of homosalate and slightly more octisalate. Though both are labeled as broad spectrum, the SPF 30 and SPF 50 probably offer the same level of UVA protection since they contain the same concentration of avobenzone, the only filter that absorbs UVA rays, out of the active ingredients listed.

Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen review

Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen markets itself as “paraben free,” which might comfort some people who think parabens aren’t safe. As for me, when I see this phrase on a product label, I always wonder what other, potentially more irritating preservative system they’re using in place of parabens.

I personally don’t have a problem with parabens—they’re widely used and tested, effective, and have been shown to be one of the least irritating preservatives available for use in personal care products. They’re used in lots of my favorite products, including CeraVe Moisturizing Cream.

Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen contains the same two preservatives as the SPF 50 sunscreen: methylisothiazolinone and BHT, which my dad cited as a “potential hazard,” meaning that it may be more likely to cause irritation for people with sensitive skin. Methylisothiazolinone is only allowed in up to 0.01% concentration (or 100 parts per million), so this sunscreen probably doesn’t contain much of this ingredient. It did irritate my skin a little bit, but I’m not sure if it’s because of the preservatives, the chemical sunscreen filters (which aggravate my skin half the time), or the fragrance.

The fragrance is reminiscent of a mix of bananas and flowers…very tropical and beachy. I thought it was a really easy to rub in, which made it easy to reapply throughout the day. It left a slightly greasy/oily residue, though, which was less than ideal for my already oily face. I prefer using it as a body sunscreen since the skin on my body is generally less oily than the skin on my face (hello, shiny T-zone).

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