Is Banana Boat Sunscreen Bad For You? [2000 Words Guide]

Banana Boat sunscreen

We all need sunscreens, irrespective of our skin tone, to protect our skin during long-term exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. UVA damages skin collagen. UVB burns our skin and can lead to skin cancer.

Are the Banana Boat sunscreens range ideal for you? Well, on the basis of EWG ratings, the chemical sunscreens of this brand do not fare very well and the aerosol sunscreen sprays are quite dangerous due to their benzene content. However, the mineral-based sunscreens of Banana Boat do not seem to pose any serious problems and seem to be ideal for babies, kids, people with sensitive skin, and pregnant women.

To learn more about this famous sun care brand, continue reading.  

ALSO READ: Is Supergoop sunscreen good or bad for you?

What are the ingredients in  Banana Boat sunscreen? 

The active ingredients in Banana Boat chemical sunscreens are avobenzone, homosalate, octocrylene, octisalate, and oxybenzone, while those in the mineral sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium oxide.

The major inactive ingredients include water, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Tocopheryl Acetate, and Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.

The active ingredients offer protection from UVA and UVB rays. Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, and Caprylyl Glycol work as emollients that ensure easy application of the product.

Phenoxyethanol is the preservative that guarantees the longevity of the sunscreens. Tocopheryl Acetate is a form of Vitamin E that acts as an antioxidant. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice is the soothing, anti-inflammatory agent that protects the skin and keeps it supple. 

Does Banana Boat sunscreen have oxybenzone?

Yes, some of the chemical sunscreens from Banana Boat have oxybenzone. This includes Ultra Sport, Kids Max Protect and Play, and Ultra Defense. Others like Sport sunscreen are however free of oxybenzone. Oxybenzone-free sunscreens are also coral reef-friendly as oxybenzone is notorious for coral bleaching.

Does Banana Boat sunscreen have avobenzone?

Yes, most of the chemical sunscreens from Banana Boat have avobenzone as the primary ingredient. It serves to protect the skin from UVA rays. UVA penetrates deep into the human skin and leads to long-term skin damage including aging and wrinkling.

Does Banana Boat sunscreen have zinc oxide?

Yes. Banana Boat has a range of mineral sunscreens which has zinc oxide along with titanium oxide as their two primary active ingredients. Zinc oxide is a broad-spectrum sun protection agent that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays by deflecting the rays and thereby preventing them from penetrating your skin.

Does Banana Boat sunscreen have benzene?

Yes, a few Banana Boat sunscreens are noted to contain high levels of benzene. This includes 

  • Banana Boat Ultra Very High Protection Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+
  • Banana Boat Simply Protect Kids Very High Protection Sunscreen Lotion Spray SPF 50+
  • Banana Boat Dry Balance Very High Protection Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+

Benzene is a known human carcinogen that can lead to anemia on long-term exposure. Federal studies have also found that benzene can impact blood cells to such an extent that it leads to blood cancer or leukemia. Following the discovery of high Benzene content, these sunscreens were recalled in 2021.

Does Banana Boat sunscreen have PABA?

None of the ingredients mentioned in the Banana Boat sunscreens hint at them containing PABA. PABA is basically paba-aminobenzoic acid which is a skin irritant and can also lead to side effects like nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Is Banana Boat sunscreen safe?

The common ingredients in Banana Boat sunscreens have already been discussed. Most sunscreens contain avobenzone, homosalate, oxybenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene which are commonly used in many other sunscreens; and have no known dangerous side effects. 

Oxybenzone is however considered a hormone-disrupting chemical and it may be wiser to steer clear of those Banana Boat sunscreens which contain high amounts of oxybenzone. 

The mineral-based physical sunscreens of Banana Boat are deemed safer. They contain two of the best sun protection agents, i.e. titanium oxide and zinc oxide.

Can Banana Boat sunscreen cause cancer?

Three of Banana Boat sunscreens that were recalled from supermarkets in Australia and New Zealand back in 2021 were found to contain high levels of Benzene which is a known carcinogen.

Now, Banana Boat clearly states on its website that they do not use benzene in any of their products and that some of the sunscreens might contain trace amounts of benzene which will not harm the customers in any way and is also within FDA-approved permissible levels of benzene. 

If you are confused and cannot decide, the best option would be to choose Banana Boat sunscreens apart from these three, particularly notorious ones –  Ultra Very High Protection, Simply Protect Kids Very High Protection, and Dry Balance Very High Protection. 

Does Banana Boat sunscreen cause acne?

Banana Boat sunscreens which are not mineral-based can cause acne. For acne-prone skin, picking a non-comedogenic sun care product is important, and the Banana Boat Mineral sunscreens are perfect in this case. Minerals like zinc oxide or titanium oxide in these products do not clog pores and thereby help prevent acne. 

The Banana Boat Sensitive range of sunscreens is approved by the National Eczema Association and is deemed safe to be used on sensitive acne-prone skin.

Can you use Banana Boat sunscreen on your face?

Banana Boat sunscreen lotions come in two varieties – for the face and for the body. Facial sunscreen lotions from Banana Boat are safe for your face. If you have particularly sensitive skin, then there is a mineral-based Banana Boat sunscreen face lotion that is ideal for people with sensitive skin.

If you do not want to buy a separate face and body sunscreen, you can always buy a face sunscreen that you can also use on the body. Face sunscreens tend to be gentler than those meant for the body, and are hence suitable for application across the face and the body.

People with normal skin can opt for chemical sunscreens since they are non-greasy and light.

Can you use Banana Boat sunscreen while pregnant?

Yes, you can absolutely go ahead and use the mineral-based Banana Boat sunscreens when you are pregnant. As already established, mineral sunscreens are physical sunscreens that physically block the sun’s rays from penetrating your skin by deflecting them. 

Minerals like zinc oxide and titanium oxide are two of the safest sun protection ingredients approved by the FDA for use by all kinds of people, including babies and pregnant women. 

A list of the mineral Banana Boat sunscreens meant for adults is given here:

  • Banana Boat Sport 100% Mineral Continuous Spray SPF 30
  • Banana Boat Sport 100% Mineral Continuous Spray SPF 50
  • Banana Boat Sport Mineral Lotion SPF 50+
  • Banana Boat Sport Mineral Enriched C-Spray SPF 50+
  • Banana Boat Sensitive 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 50+
  • Banana Boat Sensitive Mineral Enriched Spray SPF 50+
  • Banana Boat Sensitive 100% Mineral Face Lotion SPF 50+

Pregnant women may pick from any one of these sprays. Lotions would be your best bet, though! 

Can you use Banana Boat sunscreen on babies?

Absolutely yes! Banana Boat has curated a special range of sunscreens, especially for babies and toddlers. These sunscreens are again mineral-based with zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide as the primary sun protection agents.

The sunscreens come in three varieties (finger pump, lotion, and spray) and go by the same name i.e. Banana Boat Baby Mineral Enriched sunscreen. 

Can you use Banana Boat sunscreen on dogs?

No. Banana Boat sunscreens contain either chemicals like oxybenzone, or minerals like zinc oxide, both of which are toxic to dogs. While oxybenzone can affect sperm production, side effects from zinc oxide can be either mild (like vomiting and diarrhea) or severe (like liver damage, kidney failure, or heart failure).

So, Banana Boat sunscreens should never be applied to dogs or other animals. If you are concerned about your pet dog getting tanned, you should look for sunscreens that are clearly marked ‘Pet-safe’. 

Is Banana Boat sunscreen good for acne?

Yes. As already stated, the Mineral-based Sensitive sunscreens range of Banana Boat is good for people with acne-prone skin. These sunscreens will not further deteriorate the eczema skin condition.

You can go ahead and use the Banana Boat Sensitive 100% Mineral Face Lotion SPF 50+. This is oil-free, non-greasy, and lightweight. It is also free of oxybenzone, parabens, and artificial fragrances. An added bonus is that this sunscreen is also coral reef-friendly. 

Is Banana Boat sunscreen good for sensitive skin?

Yes, the mineral-based Banana Boat sunscreens are great for sensitive skin. You can also buy the Banana Boat Sensitive 100% Mineral SPF 50+ sunscreens that are particularly crafted for attending to the sun care needs of people with sensitive skin.

This type of sunscreen comes in three types – body lotion, face lotion, and spray. It is approved and accepted by the National Eczema Association. 

Is Banana Boat sunscreen good for black skin?

Banana Boat recommends sunscreens with SPF between 8 to 30 for people with dark skin. Based on this, the following Banana Boat sunscreens are recommended for people with black skin:

  • Banana Boat Dark Tanning Spray Oil SPF 4
  • Banana Boat Sport Ultra Spray SPF 15
  • Banana Boat Dry Oil Spray SPF 25
  • Banana Boat Sport Ultra Lotion SPF 30

The right sunscreen from the above list depends on how long you plan to stay outdoors under the sun. The SPF 4 Dark Tanning Spray Oil works if it is for a short duration. However, you will need sunscreen with higher SPF if you plan to stay outdoors for a longer period.

Is Banana Boat sunscreen good for oily skin?

All Banana Boat sunscreens are oil-free, lightweight, and non-greasy. So they are ideal for people with oily skin. If you want to be extra sure, go for the Banana Boat Light as Air sunscreen collection which contains a specially curated fast-absorbing formula that does not feel heavy or oily on the skin. 

Does Banana Boat sunscreen leave a white cast?

Banana Boat sunscreens that contain zinc oxide can leave behind a white cast. So in this respect, opting for a chemical sunscreen with chemicals like avobenzone and octisalate will be better.

To prevent that ashy look on your face, make sure you let the sunscreen sit on your skin before going outside. Also, it is better to pat the product gently on the skin during application, rather than slathering it in huge quantities.

Does Banana Boat sunscreen stain clothes?

Banana Boat sunscreens that contain avobenzone can discolor clothes. When we put on sunscreen and then wear our clothes, the product often gets on our clothes as well. Now when the chemical avobenzone comes in contact with water (when washing, particularly in hard water), it can lead to yellow and brown stains.

To avoid this, you can either wait for the sunscreen to dry before putting on your clothes, or use a Banana Boat sunscreen that does not contain avobenzone. Also, avoid washing clothes in hard water. 

How long does Banana Boat sunscreen last on skin?

Banana Boat recommends reapplying their sunscreens every two hours when you are continuously exposed to the sun. If you go for a quick swim or have gone to the beach for a day out, then make sure to reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. 

Does Banana Boat sunscreen expire?

Yes, Banana Boat sunscreens expire after 3 years from the date of manufacture. Expired sunscreens don’t turn toxic, but would no longer protect you adequately from the harmful UV rays of the sun.


Anand Srinivasan
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