Best Sunscreen For Runners Compared in 2017

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Searching for Sunscreen? Take a look at the best Sunscreens when exercising of 2018 and what to be aware of before buying them online or in a store.

As the scorching summer months begin to set in there are a number of precautions that runners need to consider. Many of these are related to hydration, but taking care of your skin is equally if not more important. The fact of the matter is that running and being outdoors a lot comes at the price of an increased risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen is one of those pesky things that no one really wants to use but you absolutely should. It’s kind of like insurance in a way.

Last Updated: June 16, 2017
By Brian Price:

After finding different sunscreen that is ideal for the needs of runners, we decided to go back and conduct a little more research into just what really is important when using these products for running.

We have also put together a few frequently asked questions, which we thought touched on some good points to think about when shopping around.

Our Top Picks
Peak Sunscreen SPF 30
  • Peak Sunscreen SPF 30
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Made with all natural, eco freindly ingredients
  • Price: See Here
Watermans Aqua Armor
  • Watermans Aqua Armor
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Made with no nano particles or oxybenzone
  • Price: See Here
Banana Boat SPF 50
  • Banana Boat SPF 50
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Non-greasy formula stays on without clogging pores
  • Price: See Here

This post is a friendly reminder, and a look at the best types of sunscreen specifically for running. The absolute best type of sunscreen you can buy is one that you’ll actually use. Make sure it’s easy to use, ideally with a spray applicator, doesn’t have any strange smells, and doesn’t sting your eyes. You want using it to become second nature. Below are some of our best sunscreen picks for runners.

10 Best Sunscreens for Runners

 

 

Peak Sunscreen SPF 30

Peak Sunscreen SPF 30
Peak sunscreen is a solid choice because it checks so many different boxes. It’s all natural with no harsh chemicals, it hits the generally recommended SPF 30 threshold, it’s odorless, it’s water resistant, and it comes with a bold satisfaction guarantee. There is little to dislike here.
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Peak is considered one of the best sunscreens out there for runners. First of all, unlike a lot of sunscreen products, it is not greasy and full of chemicals like most sunscreens.

In fact, Peak uses all natural ingredients in their products. Peak also ranked high on our list because it last from 80 minutes to two hours.
Pros
  • Great for sensitive skin types,contains no gluten, parabens, synthetic chemical fragrance, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone or propylene glycol.
  • Water resistant up to 80 minutes
  • Eco-friendly, runoff does not pollute rivers/lakes
  • Satisfaction guarantee is generous
Cons
  • No sprayer, self application is tough

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 100

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 100
Designed specifically for your face, this sunscreen goes on smooth and clear. It makes you feel as if you aren’t wearing anything at all. Additionally it won’t clog your pores or run into your eyes. All in all a great go to.
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Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry comes highly recommend by a lot of experts. One of the reasons it is highly recommended is because it is not a heavy cream like a lot of sunscreens. It is very light ,non greasy and water resistant.

You do however; have to reapply the lotion after 80 minutes or two hours in the sun.
Pros
  • Non-comedogenic (it won’t clog your pores)
  • Budget friendly
  • Extremely well reviewed on amazon
  • Helioplex technology, performs well in the water
Cons
  • Consistent reapplication necessary
  • Not everyone loves Neutrogena products

MDSolar Sciences Mineral Stick SPF 40

MDSolar Sciences Mineral Stick SPF 40
This is probably the most portable and in some senses easiest to apply sunscreens currently available. Coming in a handy roller stick it’s meant for people who are on the move. Its design allow for smooth reapplication to prone areas such as the nose, shoulders, or cheeks. Derived from natural substances this is another great way to make sure your skin is protected.
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The best part about this product is that is lightweight, portable and easy to carry around. So this product can be very useful for runners especially if you are out in the sun for long periods of time.

This sunscreen also is eco-friendly, water resistant and most importantly, it is good against fighting skin cancer.

Plus even younger runners in the family can use it tool.
Pros
  • Hypoallergenic, goes easy on the skin
  • No use of harsh chemicals
  • Innovative application design
  • Good value-to-price ratio
Cons
  • The roller isn’t for everyone

Zealios Sun Barrier SPF 45

Zealios Sun Barrier SPF 45
Formulated with triathletes in mind, this is high performance sunscreen that is great for running or any outdoor activity. There are few sunscreens who perform better in the water than this, and best of all it goes on clear leaving your skin feeling light as opposed to oily.

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Zealios comes highly recommended by athletes as a quality product. There are several reasons this product comes highly recommended. For one, it received the FDA’s highest rating when it comes to being water resistant which 80 minutes is. Not only that, but it is sweat resistant, won’t clog your pores and it is clear when applied to the skin.
Pros
  • Zinc Oxide (8%) for extra protection and care
  • Does not include any parabens or oil
  • Dries clear and feels very light on your skin
  • Designed for high performance
Cons
  • It’s a little expensive for the size of the bottle.

KINeSYS SPF 30 Performance Spray

KINeSYS SPF 30 Performance Spray
A lot of athletes prefer a spray on sunscreen to a lotion that you have to spread by hand. It’s more convenient and avoids the potential of asking a stranger to massage your back. Also in many cases it dries more quickly and doesn’t leave you with a greasy feel. All of the above is true of about the KineSYS. Plus it’s easy on touchy skin with a gentle alcohol-free ingredient list.
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Pros
  • Has a microspray application valve, no rubbing required
  • No oil, alcohol, or parabens
  • Resists sweat/water well
  • No strong odor, anti-irritant
  • Works as a topical antioxidant
Cons
  • The volume of the bottle isn’t huge, requires restocking fairly often

Watermans Aqua Armor 50+

Watermans Aqua Armor 50+
With a name like Aqua Armor this sunscreen had better deliver, and the good news is that it does. Designed by surfers and swimmers, this sunscreen performs magnificently in the water. In fact you will be extremely hard pressed to find anything better in this sense. Comes with a handy carabiner clip for easy attachment to a backpack, belt or vest. Give it a shot today and see the difference!
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According to Men’s Journal, Waterman’s Aqua Armor is one of the best sunscreen products out there for athletes. It is water resistant and sweat resistant so you don’t have to worry about it running down into your face into your eyes. It is also easy to carry around because it comes in an easy carry pouch.
Pros
  • Almost immune to water contact
  • Won’t run and drip into your eyes
  • Includes Zinc oxide for extra protection
  • Handy packaging
Cons

 

  • Not terribly budget friendly
  • High performance, unecessary for all uses

 

Banana Boat Sport Performance Clear Zinc SPF 50

Banana Boat Sport Performance Clear Zinc SPF 50
No review of sunscreen products would be complete without Banana Boat. This is another product geared specifically for your face and other sensitive areas such as neck or ears. Loaded with zinc oxide it goes on clear offering top notch SPF 50 UVA protection with water resistance lasting up to 80 minutes. Not the product to slather all over your body, but in terms of spot treatment you can’t do much better.
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Normally, when you hear the Banana Boat sunscreen, you probably think that this product is only good for swimmers, but you would be wrong. First of all, it is not only water resistant but most importantly it is sweat resistant, non greasy and not heavy. Banana Boat also comes highly recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Pros
  • Convenient portable jar, screw top, won’t explode in your bag.
  • Great for protecting high risk areas
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Good on sensitive skin, won’t cause breakouts
  • Well reviewed, high customer satisfaction
Cons
  • Not made from 100% natural products
  • Smaller size


The Criteria We Used When Choosing The Best Sunscreen For Running

 

Protection from the sun is very vital, not only for runner but everyone. Sun radiation mostly affects outdoor athletes especially during hot temperatures.  This is a big risk to the outdoor runner because they can dangerous sun’s radiation leads to skin cancer.

The skin should be protected with high quality substances. Try to imagine an athlete on the field with wrinkled and sagging skin, it does give a impression and might as well be uncomfortable to the athlete.  Most people protect themselves from the sun by using sun glasses to cover the eyes, hat and long sleeve shirts. But is this enough? Are the skin and the whole body protected from the sun dangerous rays?

The uncovered parts like the neck, legs, arms, hands and face should also be protected too. This is why it is important for every runner especially those who practice outdoors to have the best sunscreen for their skins protection.

In the market today, there are varieties of sunscreens. One should be precise on what time of sunscreen depending on what sport he or she exercises. Apart from using the best sunscreen, one is not limited from keeping away from the dangerous sun rays. One can still have his or her sunglasses, hat and protective clothes from the sun on. This guide is to feed the athlete with information and confidence on how to choose the best sunscreen for his or her persistence use.

 Choosing a sunscreen that is suitable for a runner is not as simple as it seems though. For a sunscreen to protect runners from the sun while running, it must have a number of factors:

Broad spectrum protection

The sun produces a broad spectrum of nasty UV radiation. This radiation is broadly classified as UVA and UVB. UVB is the radiation that causes sunburn. A lot of sunscreens only offer protection against UVB radiation, leaving you exposed to UVA radiation.

UVA radiation is arguably the more dangerous end of the radiation spectrum. UVA radiation is responsible for the DNA altering damage that occurs deep in the skin and can lead to melanoma. On top of this, UVA radiation also increasing visible signs of aging in the skin (sagging and wrinkling).

Whenever you buy a sunscreen you should be looking for products labeled with something like ‘UVA/UVB protection’ or ‘broad spectrum’. If it doesn’t have this labeling, don’t even bother. This kind of protection is especially important for runners as you are constantly exposing yourself to sunlight and the potential for serious harm.

All of the products Simply-Sun-Safe recommends offer broad spectrum protection as it’s the only way to ensure complete sun protection.

Best SPF for Runners

Most people have no idea what sun protection factor (SPF) actually is, even though they base a lot of the protection they get from the sun on this number. Even when it gets explained it’s still confusing.

The SPF rating is the number you have to multiply the time it takes you to burn without protection by to get the time it’ll take you to burn with that level of protection. Clear as mud, right? Let’s use an example to get a better idea. If you take 5 minutes to burn without sunscreen, an SPF 15 sunscreen will protect you for 75 minutes (15 times as long). If you’re more resilient and take 10 minutes to burn naturally, you’ll get 150 minutes of protection.

This doesn’t mean a particularly resilient person (say 20 minutes before burning) with an SPF 50 sunscreen will get 1000 minutes (over 16 hours) of protection. No matter how high the SPF, a sunscreen won’t last much longer than 2 hours. This time is even less when you involve sweat (like from running) or water (see the water resistance section below). This makes reapplying regularly, wearing UV-rated clothing, and seeking out shade wherever you can vital elements of effective sun protection.

Apart from the fact that it’s confusing, SPF has some other issues:

It only rates protection against UVB radiation, not UVA. To assess UVA protection you need to make sure you’ve got the right active ingredients (more on this below).

The time you’re protected also depends on light intensity and application thickness. This means it’s inconsistent and impossible to predict.

The ratings naturally lead people to believe that SPF 15 offers half the protection of SPF 30. This isn’t even close to true and companies take advantage of this misunderstanding.

There is a much better way to look at SPF so you can choose which one to use. All you have to do is look at the amount of UVB radiation each rating level blocks.

So now you’re in the know when it comes to SPF, which one should you be using? You can probably guess the answer from evaluating the procedure. experts  recommend that using sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or more. This will provide you with the protection you need and anything above this is just a (small) bonus you shouldn’t be paying through the nose for.

Physical | chemical Sunscreen

Sunscreens are broadly classified as physical or chemical. Physical sunscreens use their active ingredients to reflect damaging radiation away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens use their active ingredients to absorb radiation before it reaches the skin.

 Physical sunscreens help to  stop more radiation from reaching the skin last longer on the skin, are less likely to cause irritation, start to work immediately and   have a longer shelf life

If you need even more convincing, chemical sunscreens often contain ingredients thought to be endocrine disruptors (things that mess with your hormones). A clear example of this is the all too common and notorious oxybenzone.

To know you are getting the goods, check the label for ‘physical’ or ‘mineral’ wording. If a ‘physical’ or ‘chemical’ classification isn’t clear, read the active ingredients. Physical sunscreens will use high levels of either zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

Water-resistance

Sunscreen that rubs off with sweat, stings when it gets in your eyes, and leaves you squinting for the rest of your run is a huge pain for runners. The solution to this all too common problem experienced by runners is to make sure your sunscreen won’t run. This will stop you having to slow down to try to remove the sunscreen from your stinging eyes.

Changes to sunscreen labeling regulations mean sunscreens can no longer market themselves as ‘waterproof’ or ‘sweat proof’. This is definitely a step in the right direction as no sunscreen could possible hope to guarantee those claims.

Now sunscreens are labeled as ‘water resistant’ for periods of 40 or 80 minutes depending on the resistance of the particular product. This ensures people are aware of the requirement to reapply regularly and aren’t misled about the ability of sweat and water to interfere with sunscreen performance.

Lotion or spray

Spray sunscreens are easy to apply which is great for time-poor runners on the go. However, the time saved is not worth it. For years the FDA has been urging people to avoid spray sunscreens, especially for use on children.

They have good reasons to not recommend these products. Spray sunscreens increase the chance of accidental inhalation. Breathing in the chemicals in sunscreens, especially nano-sized and micronized ingredients, is a more direct route of exposure that could lead to lung injury. On top of this, spray sunscreens offer inadequate sun protection as they make it more difficult to create a consistent layer that covers all exposed areas.

Although still legal to sell, the FDA has threatened to ban them in the past. While companies scramble to provide more evidence of their safety, spray sunscreens aren’t recommended on SimplySunSafe.

Appropriate for daily use

Your running sunscreen will likely be getting quite a workout (just like you!). It’s important that the ingredients present combine to create a gentle formulation appropriate for daily use.

If you have sensitive skin, all of the products here feature natural and organic ingredients that make them suitable for you. They shouldn’t cause irritation unless you react to one of their ingredients, so read the product descriptions and ingredient lists carefully before making your purchase.

Type of skin

Runners are everywhere in the world. Different races, different places of the world and  practicing from different areas with different weather conditions. The light skin cannot have the same sunscreen type with a person with hard skin. Different skin race have different skin pigments, example the black have a higher skin melanin that the whites, and that makes people from different races use different sunscreens.

Athletes with sensitive skin should consider acquiring a skin sunscreen that goes well with their skin type. Some athletes are even allergic to some products and should see a doctor for proper direction of which ingredients in a sunscreen suites them right. Athletes with damaged skin conditions should do the same, get a sunscreen that is best for your skin state.

Other Important Factors To Consider

 

Personal preference

The personal preference of the athlete, especially female runners counts a lot in the choosing of the sunscreen. One should choose a brand that he or she is personally into. That will motivate the runner to use the sunscreen repeatedly and persistently without feeling bad lazy.

As much as the personal preference is important though, it is important for the runner to not underestimate other important factors and only focus on the preference.

Sweat resistance

For athletes who exercise in water, it is important to choose a sunscreen that is compatible with water. call them sweat and water resistance sunscreen.

This type of sunscreen help one to still be protected while swimming or practicing in water while the sun is still hot.  One must be sure with full information on how this sunscreen work and the maximum time the water and sweat resistance can be. It is recommended that after forty minutes of being in water, one should reapply the sunscreen again to maintain the protection and water resistance.

 

Skin Allergies

The skin condition of the athlete or runner has big shares in selecting the type of sunscreen to use. There are different types of skin and similarly variety of different brands for each skin type.

What is the tone of your skin? What is your skin type? Is it sensitive on allergic to any product? Is your skin damaged or on medication? This are some of the questions the runner should have in mind when selecting a sunscreen for their bodies.

There are different skin state conditions affected by the sun. One with a much damaged skin cannot use the same sunscreen, unless multipurpose, as an athlete with zero skin problematic. Some runners just use the sunscreen for protection and not to heal damaged skin.

Read The Label

Another great way to identify a sunscreen for running is to check if it’s labeled for use as a ‘sport’ sunscreen. Although purely a marketing term, the manufacturer has usually done some testing to ensure if can perform under more testing conditions. Plus, the reviews on these products are more likely to come from people who’ve used the product for the purpose you intend – so customer feedback is more relevant.

 

A Few Tips

When one buys a sunscreen, inside the pack is a user manual where the all the details of the sunscreen are indicated. That includes information about the ingredients and instructions on how to use the sunscreen. Most runners ignore the manual and end up having the same skin condition and now blames the brand.

Here are the basic tips on how to use your best sunscreen regularly( daily) and correctly.

One should apply the sunscreen at hand 20 to thirty minutes before getting in conduct with the sun. For runner who put on make up , the sunscreen can be applied under the make up. It is also important to use the right advised content.( enough amount).

But before using the sunscreen, one should ensure he or she rinses the face properly to wash away any germ or bacteria that may affect the working of the sunscreen on the body.

   Apply the sunscreen evenly to all the needed parts. Example, when applying the sunscreen on the face, don’t forget the ears especially the tips, the fingers and toe. for the lips and eye lids, one can get a sunscreen that is compatible with that.

It is important to use the sunscreen after every two hour of being under the sun, especially if you are in a wet environment or sweating.

    The date of manufacture and the expiry date should be at hand when choosing the cream.

    It is important to wear the sunscreen everyday  for a heart throbbing results.  The weather, hot or cold should be an hindrance.

FAQ

 

Q. Why Bother with Sunscreen?

A. The skin should be protected with high quality substances. Try to imagine an athlete on the field with wrinkled and sagging skin, it does give a impression and might as well be uncomfortable to the athlete.  Most people protect themselves from the sun by using sun glasses to cover the eyes, hat and long sleeve shirts. But is this enough? Are the skin and the whole body protected from the sun dangerous rays?

The uncovered parts like the neck, legs, arms, hands and face should also be protected too. This is why it is important for every runner especially those who practice outdoors to have the best sunscreen for their skins protection.

 

Q. How do I best apply Sunscreen?

A. When one buys a sunscreen, inside the pack is a user manual where the all the details of the sunscreen are indicated. That includes information about the ingredients and instructions on how to use the sunscreen. Most runners ignore the manual and end up having the same skin condition and now blames the brand.

Here are the basic tips on how to use your best sunscreen regularly( daily) and correctly.

One should apply the sunscreen at hand 20 to thirty minutes before getting in conduct with the sun. For runner who put on make up , the sunscreen can be applied under the make up. It is also important to use the right advised content.( enough amount).

But before using the sunscreen, one should ensure he or she rinses the face properly to wash away any germ or bacteria that may affect the working of the sunscreen on the body.

   Apply the sunscreen evenly to all the needed parts. Example, when applying the sunscreen on the face, don’t forget the ears especially the tips, the fingers and toe. for the lips and eye lids, one can get a sunscreen that is compatible with that.

It is important to use the sunscreen after every two hour of being under the sun, especially if you are in a wet environment or sweating.

    The date of manufacture and the expiry date should be at hand when choosing the cream.

    It is important to wear the sunscreen everyday  for a heart throbbing results.  The weather, hot or cold should be an hindrance.

  Q.  Are there body Sunscreens cream that can be used when exercising in water?

A. For athletes who exercise in water, it is important to choose a sunscreen that is compatible with water. call them sweat and water resistance sunscreen.

This type of sunscreen help one to still be protected while swimming or practicing in water while the sun is still hot.  One must be sure with full information on how this sunscreen work and the maximum time the water and sweat resistance can be. It is recommended that after forty minutes of being in water, one should reapply the sunscreen again to maintain the protection and water resistance.

Q. Is using sunscreen alone  enough for my skin?

A. Apart from using the best sunscreen, one is not limited from keeping away from the dangerous sun rays. One can still have his or her sunglasses, hat and protective clothes from the sun on. This guide is to feed the athlete with information and confidence on how to choose the best sunscreen for his or her persistence use.

Q. Why shouldn’t I use sunscreen sprays and powders for my skin protection from the sun?

A. Sunscreen sprays and powders are not recommendable, not only to younger athlete but to all ages athletes. Sprays and powder may lead to respiration complications or any other health related issues.

Sprays too fade away easily when you get in conduct with the sun, while powder will require a lot of time to apply the sunscreen again and again

If one has a spray or powder sunscreen, he can spray it or pour the powder in the hands before rubbing it on the body parts .

Q. What are the tips of using my sunscreen?

A. When one buys a sunscreen, inside the pack is a user manual where the all the details of the sunscreen are indicated. That includes information about the ingredients and instructions on how to use the sunscreen. Most runners ignore the manual and end up having the same skin condition and now blames the brand.

Here are the basic tips on how to use your best sunscreen regularly( daily) and correctly.

One should apply the sunscreen at hand 20 to thirty minutes before getting in conduct with the sun. For runner who put on make up , the sunscreen can be applied under the make up. It is also important to use the right advised content.( enough amount).

But before using the sunscreen, one should ensure he or she rinses the face properly to wash away any germ or bacteria that may affect the working of the sunscreen on the body.

   Apply the sunscreen evenly to all the needed parts. Example, when applying the sunscreen on the face, don’t forget the ears especially the tips, the fingers and toe. for the lips and eye lids, one can get a sunscreen that is compatible with that.

It is important to use the sunscreen after every two hour of being under the sun, especially if you are in a wet environment or sweating.

    The date of manufacture and the expiry date should be at hand when choosing the cream.

    It is important to wear the sunscreen everyday  for a heart throbbing results.  The weather, hot or cold should be an hindrance.

 Q.  Does my personal preference in any way affect my sunscreen choice?

A. Yes, the preference of the athlete has a say on the sunscreen to choose. The personal preference of the athlete, especially female runners counts a lot in the choosing of the sunscreen. One should choose a brand that he or she is personally into. That will motivate the runner to use the sunscreen repeatedly and persistently without feeling bad lazy.

As much as the personal preference is important though, it is important for the runner to not underestimate other important factors and only focus on the preference.

 

Q. How do you remove sunscreen?

A. Just like the normal body oil and lotion, natural/physical sunscreens will get removed when one is swimming, sweating or using a towel when wiping away dirt. Chemical sunscreen vaporizes after sometime when in conduct with the sun. It is though important to wash your face at the end of the day with warm water, elbow grease and a good face soap. After washing your face, it is important to rinse your face with a clean towel.

 

Q. My skin is very sensitive to beauty products  and is a little damaged with the sun rays. What sunscreen should I use?

A. The skin condition of the athlete or runner has big shares in selecting the type of sunscreen to use. There are different types of skin and similarly variety of different brands for each skin type.

What is the tone of your skin? What is your skin type? Is it sensitive on allergic to any product? Is your skin damaged or on medication? This are some of the questions the runner should have in mind when selecting a sunscreen for their bodies.

There are some skin  conditions which could be affected differently by too much exposure to the sun. One with damaged or overly sensitive skin often shouldn’t use the same sunscreen, unless multipurpose, as an athlete with zero skin problematic. Some runners just use the sunscreen for protection and not to heal damaged skin.

The insidious thing about unprotected sun exposure is that aside from a burn, which goes away quickly, there is a long distance between the exposure and its real consequences.  According to the CDC, skin cancer is statistically the most common form of cancer in the US (2013). There is also not much that ages you more quickly than the sun. Neither of the above is a particularly desirable outcome. But we know this already.


 

Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:

Sources

  1. EWG, Choose a safer Sunscreen, health wbsite,
  2. American Cancer Society., Cancer Facts and statistics, health website,
  3. Science Direct, Update on Photoprotection, health website,
  4. Consumer Report, Sunscreen buying guide, consumer website,
  5. REI, How to choose sunscreen for Runners, Running website,
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