When your beach HIIT workout hits scorching heat levels, there’s nothing more uncomfortable than greasy sunscreen melting off your skin. Fortunately, the new generation of SPF has upgraded formulas that absorb easily, are water-resistant, leave a clear finish, and work with your skin type.
Beyond comfort and aesthetics, using SPF can save your life. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime. Regularly applying sunscreen is especially important for athletes who often pound pavement, sand or water in direct sunlight, says Shereene Idriss, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology. “Finding a water-resistant formula is essential to maintain the SPF while working out for up to 40 minutes,” Dr. Idriss says. She recommends reapplying more frequently if you tend to sweat a lot. When shopping for sunscreen, Dr. Idriss says to look for one with an SPF of at least 30.
To help you choose the best sport sunscreens among the hundreds of options, we did some heavy spritzing to identify the top performers for every skin type. After testing more than 30 of ’em (during a heat wave no less), these nine sun shields earned a permanent place in our gym bag.
The 9 Best Sunscreens for Your Workout and Skin Type
Best for: Acne-prone skin
Sunscreen often gets a bad rap for clogging pores. But dermatologists say that direct sunlight (sans SPF) can actually aggravate breakouts. For those who still fear lotion, Neutrogena’s non-comedogenic version has a surprisingly light texture. We tried it during a spin workout, and no new blemishes. ($8.54; Neutrogena.com)
Best for: Sensitive skin
It’s not always easy to apply sunscreen in hard-to-reach places, like your back or in between your toes, but this spray makes application effortless. The natural lotus complex ensures the formula clings to skin, even when wet (or sweaty). Plus, it smells like a beach and is as light on your skin as a sea breeze. ($8.54; Aveeno.com)
Best for: Your lips
SPF for lips? That’s right. It’s especially crucial to pucker up to protection since the skin on your lips is thinner and more susceptible to burns. EOS’s sphere-shape balm in grapefruit makes it fun and easy to apply sunscreen. And it won’t leave a white residue or bitter taste on your tongue. The shea butter and jojoba oil in the formula softens and hydrates your lips, too. ($7.59; EvolutionofSmooth.com)
Best for: Oily skin
This triple-threat sunscreen sets makeup, reduces shine and keeps skin safe for a low-impact outdoor activity. (Because it’s not water-resistant, you want to stay dry.) The fine mist application and lavender scent made us feel like we were getting a luxe spa treatment. The silicone powder helps blur the appearance of wrinkles, while the hyaluronic acid helps boost hydration. We also love the mattifying effects it has on shiny skin. ($38; KateSomerville.com)
Best for: On the go
Marathon training this summer? It’s crucial to reapply SPF during your long runs. Tote this adorable vitamin E-infused sunscreen stick (that smells like bananas) in your pocket or hydration pack for easy access. We applied it to our nose, cheeks and lips during a hike and loved that its thick texture made it stay put. Even better: It’s thin enough to glide on easily without messing up makeup. ($20; TrusttheBum.com)
Best for: Dry skin
Hello, hydration! Hyaluronic acid in this formula works to attract and seal in moisture for a healthy dose of softness. A little goes a long way with this sunscreen, but you’ll still need a waterproof version overtop since this won’t stand up to wetness. We like this SPF as a base or primer before makeup. The peony, licorice extract and vitamin C helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and helps even skin tone. ($55; Fresh.com)
Best for: The eco-conscious
With Gwyneth Paltrow on board, it’s no surprise that this broad-spectrum SPF touts an all-natural formula. The sunscreen protects with mineral zinc oxide and smells like plants — in a good way. The aloe leaf juice helps soothe red, irritated skin, and the resveratrol (the same antioxidant in wine) gives you youthful-looking skin. While it really did last through an especially clammy jog, it took a little elbow grease to rub in. ($16; JuiceBeauty.com)
Best for: All-over protection
This sunscreen is so absorbent, you won’t even know it’s there (really!). The lightweight texture means it doesn’t drip into your eyes when you start sweating. Dermalogica’s sophisticated oleosome technology helps defend your skin against the sun’s powerful rays. It’s also fragrance and paraben-free. ($29.56; Dermalogica.com)
Best for: Anti-aging
If lines and wrinkles are your hang-up, try this certified organic broad-spectrum sunscreen. Acai oil in the moisturizer has powerful, anti-aging benefits. And it delivers antioxidants straight to your complexion through its omegas 3, 6 and 9, plus other vitamins profile. Unlike other sport sunscreens, this one left behind only a slight white finish. ($32; CoolaSuncare.com)
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