We approached this Mexitan sunscreen review seriously because we are avid snorkelers who hate getting sunburned - (www.mexitan.com). We tested it against three other biodegradable and reef friendly sunscreens during two solid weeks of snorkeling in the blazing hot sun of Bonaire, a Caribbean island close to the equator.
You can read the full results here, but suffice it to say that it won the contest easily, and we love Mexitan's Tropical Sands/Coral Safe sunscreens. We continue to use it as our primary sunscreen for every snorkeling trip. And on every trip we appreciate this sunscreen for it's usability and we never get burned!
Note that Mexitan has changed their labels. You can find it now as Tropical Sands sunscreen, or the new Coral Safe label. It is all the same stuff.
We have used lots of sunscreens snorkeling over the years, (you can read more of our sunscreen tips here), and we are so pleased to find a natural sunscreen that works much better than the mainstream, chemical loaded, reef killing stuff.
Check out the ingredients list below. You can easily understand it all. It is simple and natural. This might lead you to think it won't work (we certainly thought so at first).
Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Aloe Vera Gel, Deionized Water, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Green Tea Extract, Coconut Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Glycerin, Sunflower Seed Oil, Sunflower Wax, Lecithin, p-Anisic Acid, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin-E.
It's previous name, Mexitan, did not inspire confidence. They now label it Tropical Sands and Coral Safe, much better names. We are interested in preventing burns and protecting our skin, not getting a tan when snorkeling. Mexitan started out as a very popular tanning oil before they got into the sunscreen business. So for awhile they stuck with the name. It should really be called "Mexi-can't-tan". No kidding. Their SPF30 did too good a job during those two weeks in Bonaire. Check out the picture of us. Man, Galen's legs are white. And that was at the end of two weeks in the sun. We now only use their SPF30 product for the first couple of days and then switch to the SPF15 so we can get a little color.
Also, Mexitan is made in the USA, not Mexico, which we were a little confused about.
A Mexitan sunscreen review we read said it is not waterproof, and that people have gotten badly burned. Given the results of our test we find it highly likely they are not using it correctly. We bet that people are not shaking the bottle up to mix the ingredients, and they are not giving it the required time that all sunscreens need before entering the water - at least twenty minutes.
We found that it is the most waterproof sunscreen we have ever used. In fact it is so good that it is kind of a problem. You can't hardly get it off in the shower at the end of the day. (Later, we found that the SPF15 comes off easier in the shower than the SPF 30 does.) Even though it doesn't seem to come off at all, we still reapply it after we have been in the water for awhile just to be safe.
Another Mexitan sunscreen review we read is that it does some weird peeling up thing into little balls of goo on your skin. If you don't know how to apply this sunscreen correctly, that can happen. Learn how to apply it correctly and that will not happen.
Mexitan is not a skin lotion. It is not meant to be rubbed completely into your skin and then block the sun with chemicals like most non-reef-friendly sunscreens. It is a physical sunscreen. That means it uses a physical barrier of zinc and titanium to block the sun's rays. It is meant to stay on the surface of your skin. Although it is not like the old zinc/titanium sunscreens that stayed super white on your skin (it uses a new micronized formula).
The correct way to use it is to very quickly apply a thin coating over your skin, making sure you are covering everything, and then leave it alone. It must be done quickly before it starts to dry. If you put a little on, and let it dry, and then try to put some on next to that dry spot, you will get that problem of it peeling up. Or if you keep rubbing, trying to rub the white away into your skin, as it starts to dry it will peel up. It is best not to rub it into your hands first. Just put some on your hand and rub that on your body quickly. It can be very difficult to apply this sunscreen in the wind as it dries too quickly, so apply indoors.
When you apply it correctly it will leave a white sheen on your skin. As it dries this white sheen will mostly go away, though the SPF30 is a bit whiter than the SPF15. But this sunscreen will not leave your legs super white like the old style of zinc sunscreens because the ingredients have been micronized.
When you get the hang of quickly applying a thin layer of this to your skin, you will discover how amazingly quick it is to get your sunscreen on, and how little of the product you really need for it to be effective.
Previously, when using the store bought chemical sunscreens for several weeks straight, we could hardly stand to put the stuff back on. It grosses us out. And we both start to get negative reactions. Galen tends to get overly hot in it. Nicole has other skin reactions. And we are sure it is because of all the unhealthy chemicals. We thought it was a necessary evil. But when we learned that we may also be harming the reefs we love, we knew we had to change.
With our Mexitan sunscreen review test we wanted to find an alternative to the chemical options. And we succeeded. We have used our Mexitan sunscreen for month long trips, applying every day, and we have found no negative results or skin reactions.
The only real downside to it is getting it off because it is so waterproof. Although we have found the SPF15 to be a little easier to wash off.
Note: Mexitan's Tropical Sands sunscreen is a natural product. We always smell it first before applying to make sure it has not gone bad (if it has gone off it will have a rancid oil smell). And we have found that if you store it in a cool place or a refrigerator it lasts the longest.
Mexitan has very few retail outlets, and instead sells directly to you on their website. They ship quickly and have good customer service. You can see their entire line of newly labeled Coral Safe products at www.mexitanproducts.com/CoralSafe. We recommend you get some of their Coral Safe or Tropical Sands (it is the same stuff) SPF30 sunscreen and some SPF15. Use the SPF30 for the first few days in the sun and then move to the SPF15 so you can get some color. The SPF15 has identical ingredients, just lower amounts of the zinc and titanium. One 8 ounce bottle should be enough for two people for two weeks or more of heavy use.
They also now offer one of the few all natural SPF lip balms available, and a new face stick. They have an SPF50 sunscreen, if you are super sensitive to the sun as well.