People who are active outdoors need to protect themselves from the sun’s damaging rays.
Runners are especially vulnerable because they spend long periods of time outdoors, often with little to no natural shade coverage as they work up a sweat, which makes them more susceptible to developing skin cancer or other health problems related to too much sun exposure.
To protect themselves, runners should use a sunscreen that is specifically marketed to runners and sports users, as these sunscreen products have been designed to meet the unique needs of an active person’s skin (primarily, necessitating that the sunscreen is sweat-proof).
In this article, we’ll detail our top picks for the best sunscreen for runners discuss how runners can best protect their skin from harmful ultraviolet while pounding the pavement!
How to Choose a Good Sunscreen for Runners
When it comes to choosing a top-notch sunscreen for runners, there are some essential factors to consider:
- Easy to Apply. Taking the time to rub sunscreen all over yourself when you’re about to step out the door for a run is often the last thing on a runner’s mind. And when you’re already out running, you don’t want to waste momentum to stop and reapply sunscreen. This is why we feel that the sunscreen for runners needs to go on easily and absorb quickly into the skin. If ease of application is the most important factor for you, opt for a sunscreen spray or stick application.
- Sweat-Proof. No runner wants to go running only to come back with a sunburn because their sunscreen ran or sweated off while they were out jogging. This is why best sunscreens for runners are designed to stay on through sweat, so you can rest assured that even during your toughest workouts you’re being protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Opt for a sweating sunscreen with sweat and water-resistant to ensure it’ll stay on you to provide a solid layer of protection.
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF). SPF is a rating given to sunscreens which tells people how much protection they are getting from the sun’s UVB rays. Since runners are often in direct sunlight for long periods (especially when road running), the best runner sunscreens will have a high SPF (most experts agreeing that SPFs of 30 or higher are best for this active demographic).
The Best Sunscreens for Runners: Our Top Picks
Let’s dive in and take a look at top picks for runner-friendly sunscreens!
1. Coppertone Sport Continuous Sunscreen Spray
Coppertone’s Sport Continuous Sunlight Protection Spray is an easy-to-apply spray sunscreen with a high performance, sweat-proof formula. In addition to being an ideal sunscreen for runners, this sun protection spray works well for aquatic sports and other outdoor activities where you might get wet, since it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Despite all that, this sunscreen shouldn’t dry you out either, as it contains moisturizers and vitamin E to keep your skin happy.
With broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, along with an SPF of 50+, this sunscreen will keep your safe and protected while out hitting the pavement.
2. Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen
Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen is a water-resistant, sweat-proof facial sunscreen with an impressively high SPF 70 rating, along with UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection. Designed for sports enthusiasts, it resists wear off from water, rubbing, sweating or wiping.
Best of all, this oil-free formula won’t clog pores or cause break outs. It even includes an added electrolyte complex for hydration during long workouts, making it a great option not just for runners, but also golfers, mountain climbers, cyclists, hikers, and other outdoor adventurers!
This formula is a chemical-based sunscreen, but is suitable for most skin types. However, if you have very sensitive skin, you may want to opt for a mineral face sunscreen instead that’s less likely to irritate ultra-sensitive skin.
3. EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Lotion
EltaMD UV Sport Sunplay is an ideal sunscreen for runners who have sensitive skin that results in breakouts from other sunscreens.
EltaMD is known for being gentle on the skin, boasting a non-greasy formula that’s still sweat and water resistant up to 80 minutes. It also offers broad spectrum, protection from UVA/UVB rays with its SPF 50 rating.
Plus, despite relying on mineral-based zinc oxide, the formula leaves no white cast on your skin. In fact, this formula can even be applied onto wet skin, making it great for re-application mid run.
The downside is that this bottle is fairly small, so it might be best to use this primarily as a facial running sunscreen and use a larger, cheaper bottle for body coverage.
4. Banana Boat Sport Ultra Spray
Banana Boat SPORT is one of the most popular running sunscreens on the market today. Their biggest claim to fame? A hefty SPF 100 rating for full, broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
This chemical-based sunscreen spray mist promises to stay in place and is water-resistant and sweat-proof for up to 80 minutes – all with a light, non-greasy feel!
5. Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport Lotion SPF 50
Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport Lotion SPF 50 is another top pick for the best sunscreens for runners. It’s designed specifically to provide protection for those that spend long hours outside in the heat, such as runners!
With broad-spectrum UVA/UVB coverage and a sweat and water-resistant formula, it covers all the must-have basics, and then some!
This lotion sunscreen from Neutrogena has been uniquely developed with micromesh technology which will help to cool down your skin as you run, as it encourages sweat to evaporate off the surface, rather than stick on your body and feel heavy. This results is a soothing cooling effect (always a bonus when you’re running long stretches).
This formula is oil-free too, so it should serve as a good sunscreen for oily skin too!
6. Banana Boat Sport Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Stick
Banana Boat Sport Broad Spectrum Sun Stick delivers solid SPF 50 UVA/UVB protection, all in an ultra easy-to-apply rub stick form!
Like others, this formula is sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
However, this is one of the limited sports sunscreens that’s reef safe, as it’s made without harmful chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly sun stick that’s easy to put on and reapply on-the-go, this one’s an easy pick!
Whether you’re running for a few miles or are training for an endurance event, you need protect your skin. The best sunscreen for runners are formulas that are sweat-proof and easy-to-apply so that it doesn’t affect you performance on long runs through the heat.
We hope these running sunscreens will do the job to keep you save on those long runs. Are you a runner with any favorite active sunscreens we missed? Let us know in the comments!