Sun Protection at All Times: Best Sunscreens for Outdoor Sports (2024) | Blog
03Jan 2024
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Sun Protection at All Times: Best Sunscreens for Outdoor Sports (2024)

Ah, summer. The time to take some time off work or school, wear nothing but a layer of clothing, and soak up vitamin D. Summer is the time to get out, enjoy outdoor sports, and get our share of fresh air. All of that means one thing: It is time to get yourself sunscreen and start layering it on your skin.

To that end, we will go over the five best products on the market that work well and protect your body's largest organ - the skin. In this blog post, we are taking a closer look at these five sunscreens being ideal for outdoor sports and working outside along with other helpful tips and tricks.

So before you play some beach volleyball, work out in your favorite outdoor gym in Tulum or enjoy a fancy paddleboard tour in Dubai Marina, check these best sunblock for outdoor sports:

The top 5 Sunscreens for Outdoor Sports

Skinnies Conquer Sunscreen

Skinnies CONQUER Sunscreen

Skinnies is the new rockstar under the sunscreens. It dries in just two minutes and forms a thin, barely-there layer of protection. The New Zealand brand made a sunscreen that is not water-based. It is more concentrated, so you need less. A pea-size amount covers your face, neck & ears.

This sunblock will not sweat off, sting eyes, and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. Skinnies also comply with Hawaii Sunscreen Bill 2021 (coral reef safe) and have not been tested on animals. No wonder this sunscreen got various awards from running magazines.

If SPF 30 is not enough protection, Skinnies Conquer SPF 50 gives you protection for four (4) hours. In addition, Skinnies Conquer gets a 91 percent top allergen-free rating on

What we like

  • Dries quickly
  • Water-resistant
  • Coral reef safe
  • A little goes a long way

What to be aware of

  • You need to get used to "less is more."
  • It can be drying for some people with sensitive skin.

Anthelios Sunscreen

Anthelios Sunscreen Lotion by La Roche-Posay

The facial area often requires a different sunscreen, especially for folks with more sensitive skin. The face sunscreen by La Roche-Posay is a fantastic option because it offers maximum protection, preserves the skin from free radicals, and absorbs well.

Their sweat-proof can prevent real pain should sweat run into your eyes while you are engaged with your work or sports.

The formula is also resistant to water for up to 80 minutes and is one of the best sweat-proof sunscreen for face for active sports. La Roche-Posay Anthelios gets a 91 percent top allergen-free rating on

What we like

  • Mixed with antioxidants
  • It can be used on the face
  • Sweat and water-resistant

What to be aware of

  • Comes with a high price tag

Mineral Body Sunscreen

Mineral Body Sunscreen Lotion by Bare Republic

The mineral SPF 50 body sunscreen lotion by Bare Republic is another fantastic option, especially for people with lighter or more sensitive skin. The product offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB coverage and stays on the skin for at least 80 minutes.

Make sure to re-apply it at least once every two hours and after drying yourself with a towel. Bare Republic gets a 91 percent top allergen-free rating on

What we like

  • It covers a large area
  • Lasts long
  • Great for sensitive skin

What to be aware of:

  • It can be a bit greasy.

Coppertone Sport Clear

Coppertone SPORT CLEAR Sunscreen

Coppertone is well known for its affordable sports sunscreen. The cream has to stay on if we want it to work. The problem is that sweat and water activities wash out most creams instantly, but not Coppertone. It comes with one simple promise: It stays on your skin and protects it for 80 minutes.

This clear gel lotion feels cool when applied and rubs on easily. Do not use this one for your face, though. It could run into your eyes and cause some stinging for the next hour. Coppertone gets a 73 percent top allergen-free rating on

What we like

  • Water-Resistant
  • Feels Light
  • Non-Greasy

What to be aware of

  • Less lotion inside

Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Lotion

Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Lotion

The Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Spray is one of our favorites; its expert-approved, broad-spectrum formulation will protect you from the sun. It is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

In addition, this sunblock is made without the chemical ingredients that the FDA and other studies have warned us to avoid. Hawaiian Tropical Sunscreen gets a 91 percent top allergen-free rating on

Unfortunately, this sunscreen is not necessarily reef-safe despite the reference to Hawaii. But at least you will avoid two of the chemicals with the most evidence of their potential environmental damage.

What we like

  • Broad-spectrum sun protection
  • Water-resistant
  • Nice smell

What to be aware of

  • Not reef-safe

What happened to Netrogena CoolDry?

Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol spray was previously on our recommended sunscreens list. But we had to remove it due to the recall by its manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson.

Also, Bana Boat is affected, but it was not clear to CNN if these products got recalled. However, to clarify, we added an indicator from, providing better insights on the ingredients used.

What to look for in a Sunscreen?

Let us first discuss why Ultraviolet (UV) protection is so important. UV rays are a type of radiation that comes from the sun. They are divided into three categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

  • UVA rays are the longest wavelength and can penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature aging.
  • UVB rays are shorter in wavelength and cause sunburns.
  • UVC rays are the shortest wavelength and can cause skin cancer.

While all three types of UV rays can be harmful, UVB rays are the most dangerous because they are the main cause of skin cancer. So, when looking for the best sunscreen for your needs, it is important to keep a few key factors in mind:

Check the SPF rating. The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. The higher the SPF, the better. However, it is important to remember that no sunscreen can completely block all UV rays.

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen. UVA rays are the ones that cause premature aging of the skin, while UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburns. Broad-spectrum sunscreens offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Pick a water-resistant sunscreen. If you are planning on sweating or swimming, it is crucial to choose a water-resistant sunscreen. Water-resistant sunscreens will stay on your skin and continue working even when wet.

Choose an oil-free sunscreen. If you have oily skin, you should choose an oil-free sunscreen. Oil-based sunscreens can clog pores and cause breakouts.

A few things to consider before buying sunblock

To those unfamiliar, it might seem that just any sunscreen would do. After all, they are designed to protect your skin from the harmful UV sun rays. Well, it is a bit more complicated than that - but also not too complicated. However, there is no best sunscreen for being outside all day.

For one, the face and lip regions might need a special type of cream. That often applies to people with more sensitive skin. Second, going in the water would mean using water-resistant sunscreen for adequate protection. Note, go for an SPF of 30 or higher if you plan to do an outdoor exercise.

Third, are you going for a cream or spray? It appears that lotions offer better protection in most cases. Plus, a spray might not provide enough material to cover your skin thoroughly. You also run the risk of spraying your (or someone else's) face or mouth. When in doubt, pick a cream or lotion.

Fourth, what about a reef-friendly label? If your sunscreen does not have the Hawaiian Label, you could get fined in countries and regions such as Hawaii. Of course, not all countries require them yet, but you may also want to think ahead and be environmentally friendly. Don't you?

And finally, though sunscreens are beneficial, you should always consider additional protection, including wearing a hat and shirt or rashguard when exposed to the sun for longer. We recommend this even more for those planning to be active at the beach or in the water, like kite surfing or playing beach volleyball.

Tips and tricks for using a Sunscreen for Outdoor Sports

Sport sunscreen and regular sunscreen may look similar, but they actually serve different purposes. Sport sunscreen is designed to stay in place even when you are sweating or swimming, while regular sunscreen is less likely to clog pores and is more suitable for everyday use. However, both types of sunscreen are important for protecting your skin, so it is a good idea to have both on hand. That way, you can choose the right one depending on your activity.

Sunscreen for Outdoor Sports

Go for a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

Many people, especially those with darker skin, choose products with a lower SPF, reasoning that is all they need. The problem is that playing sports outside inevitably leads to losing the protective layer from sweat and water.

Plus, many sports activities have you spend a lot of time in the sun, often forgetting to re-apply the sunscreen. As a result, you might find yourself with a nasty sunburn.

An excellent way to manage the risk, at least to some degree, is to use sunscreen with a higher SPF. Most brands offer a product with SPF of 50 or more, providing more protection and keeping your skin healthy.

The number is a relative measurement for the amount of time the sunscreen will protect you from ultraviolet (UV) rays. In other words, it refers to the product's ability to screen or block out the sun's harmful rays.

Depending on your skin, the intensity of the sun, and other factors, you might need different protection. You might want to check a sunbathing calculator to get some indicators.

Re-apply the Sunscreen

As briefly mentioned in the previous point, sports activities can cause you to lose track of time, which can be problematic if you're under direct sunlight. As a result, you might find yourself with a nasty sunburn that has you sleeping upright to avoid pain.

The good news is that all you need to do is re-apply your sunscreen every 80 to 120 minutes. One option is to set a timer on your phone, assuming you have it with you. Then, each time it rings, take a short break to coat your skin with a protective layer and return to the fun.

Track your UV Exposure

You might not know it, but each second you spend under direct sunlight causes you to absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The two most common types of UV radiation are UVA and UVB. UVA makes up the majority of radiation we soak up, with UVB making up less than ten percent. But, despite making up a smaller percentage of the rays that touch our skin, UVB radiation is primarily responsible for sunburns.

It also accelerates skin aging and might contribute to skin cancer. UVA also harms our skin and leads to wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and accelerated aging.

Plus, given that UVA rays are much more prevalent than UVB, the smaller risk compounds.

Luckily for us, there are ways in which we can track our UV exposure to make healthier decisions for ourselves.

The easiest way to determine the risk is to look at the daily UV index scale, which shows up, for example, in the iPhone Weather app. A low rating means it is safer to spend time under direct sunlight, whereas a rating of 6+ would mean you should limit the time you spend in the sun.

Another way to track UV exposure is with the Apple Watch, which comes equipped with a sensor. The UV Index App gives you neat information, including how much UV radiation you are soaking up and practical tips on limiting exposure.

Spray vs. Lotion vs. Stick, which sunscreen is better for outdoor sports?

Sunscreen Types for Outdoor Sports

Spray Sunscreen

Many people start to stock up on sunscreen as the weather gets warmer. However, not all sunscreens are created equal. Spray sunscreen is popular for its convenience, but it can also be dangerous if not used properly.

When applied incorrectly, spray sunscreen can end up in the lungs, causing respiratory irritation. Inhaling the chemicals in sunscreen can also cause dizziness and nausea.

For these reasons, it is important to be cautious when spraying sunscreen. Apply it in a well-ventilated area, and avoid inhaling the mist.

If you are using spray sunscreen on children, be extra careful to avoid the face and mouth. With a bit of care, spraying sunscreen can be a safe and convenient way to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

Lotion Sunscreen

Lotion sunscreen is popular for those who want to protect their skin from the sun's harmful rays. Lotion sunscreen is easy to apply and can be re-applied throughout the day as needed.

Lotion sunscreen is available in a variety of formulations, including water-resistant options that are ideal for swimming or sweating. Some lotion sunscreens also contain ingredients that help moisturize the skin and prevent dryness.

Whether you choose a traditional lotion sunscreen or one with added benefits, applying sunscreen is an important step in protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

Stick Sunscreen

Waterproof sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun, but it can be difficult to apply evenly, especially on hard-to-reach areas like your back. Stick sunscreen is a great solution to this problem.

It goes on smoothly and evenly, providing reliable protection against the sun's rays. And because it comes in a compact, easy-to-carry case, it is perfect for throwing in your bag on days when you know you'll be spending time outdoors.

Find the best outdoor sunblock for yourself

Every skin is different, so you might want to test various products to find the one that works best for you. The platform provides great insights and helps you to discover products that are unique to your needs.

Just remember, whatever you buy, it is recommended to re-apply sunscreen every two hours for optimal protection. Even the best of the best sunscreen for the outdoor sport of your choosing will wear off in time.

FAQ on best outdoor sunscreens

The best SPF for sunscreens?

UV rays can be very dangerous to your skin if you do not use sunscreen. Experts recommend using a minimum SPF of 30 because it blocks 97% UVB light, which is primarily responsible for sunburns and other harmful effects from the sun.

Higher numbers will help block slightly more UVA lighting, but no product could ever provide 100% protection, so always re-apply yourself with care!

SPF 50 vs. 70, which is better?

Sun protection is essential to stay healthy, but sometimes we forget that not all sunscreens provide equal levels of UVB coverage.

For example, SPF 50 offers less protection from skin cancer-causing rays than higher brands like factor 60 or 70, which also offer a stronger presence in this area with their broad-spectrum capabilities!

Ingredients used in Sunscreen

When it comes to sunscreen, there are a few key ingredients you should look for: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two of the most important. They provide broad-spectrum protection, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays.

Another essential ingredient is avobenzone. It helps to protect against UVA rays, which are the kind that causes wrinkles and can lead to skin cancer. Choosing sunscreen with these key ingredients can help keep your skin safe and healthy all summer long.

What sunscreen should I use if I sweat a lot?

For those who often feel sweating during outdoor activities or sports, or simply working outside, choosing water and sweat-proof sunscreen is important. A good option is to look for sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as these provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

However, it is important to remember that no sunscreen can provide 100% protection from the sun's rays. That is why taking other precautions, such as clothing covering your skin and staying in the shade when possible, is still important.

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