If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
Sunscreen is crucial for maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Hopefully you found your go-to daily protection, but are you using the best sunscreen for outdoor activities? They can lead to sweating and washing away sunscreen, resulting in losing protection from harmful UVA/UVB rays. In order to get the most out of your fun, like not burning in the sun, we looked to find sunscreens that will properly protect and last longer during sports.
What Makes Sunscreen Sweat-Resistant?
One key feature you should look for in a sunscreen for sports is sweat or water resistance. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the best sunscreen for sports and outdoors will ensure you can safely spend at least 40 minutes sweating, or in water, and still be protected. The best water-resistant sunscreens are effective for up to 80 minutes. These sunscreens will contain agents that help the formula stay on your skin for longer periods. However, you still need to reapply every two hours, or even less, if you’re sweating a ton. No sunscreen is waterproof.
Why Should You Use Broad Spectrum SPF?
The answer is simple: broad spectrum SPF includes ingredients that protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. If you’re going to be playing outdoor sports, you should use a broad spectrum and an SPF of at least 30 or higher for effective coverage.
What is the Best Sunscreen for Sports?
With many options available, we narrowed it down to our favorite seven sunscreens that provide broad spectrum protection, are water-resistant, and contain non-harmful ingredients.
1. Blue Lizard Sport Mineral Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide
Blue Lizard makes a solid mineral-based sunscreen that has just what you need for outdoor activities: it has broad spectrum SPF 30, is water and sweat-resistant, and is fragrance-free. The fragrance-free part may not be a necessity for everyone, but it’s perfect for sensitive skin types. It’s very water-resistant, as it can last up to 80 minutes in water. What’s even more interesting is that it’s packaged in Smart Bottle technology–the bottle turns blue in harmful UV light.
Additionally, the sunscreen is paraben-free and contains no Oxybenzone or Octinoxate in order to avoid harming coral reefs. Just make sure to thoroughly rub in the lotion and apply 15 minutes before sun exposure.
2. Bu SPF 30 Ultrafine WOWmist Sunscreen Spray
For an easy application, Bu’s SPF 30 Ultrafine WOWmist spray might be your favorite. It also has a light white sage scent. This broad spectrum, vegan formula leaves your skin feeling silky, while lasting up to 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance. There’s no need to rub the spray in. It’s also ideal for sensitive skin, as it contains no nut oil, gluten, soy, dairy, egg, colorants or synthetic fragrances. Plus, it includes antioxidant Vitamin E to prevent premature aging and enhance skin hydration.
3. Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen
As its name suggests, Thinksport is one of our top choices for best sports sunscreens. The brand specializes in natural, non-toxic body care that’s safe for most skin types. The lotion sunscreen easily absorbs when applied, and it’s also suitable for children. It’s a very water-resistant formula that’s also reef friendly. With an SPF 50, you can be sure you’re getting sufficient protection.
4. EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Lotion, Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
Elta MD is one of dermatologists’ favorite brands to recommend for sunscreen use. With a top-rated everyday facial sunscreen, it’s no surprise that their sport sunscreen also ranks among the top. This zinc oxide physical sunscreen is fragrance-free with broad spectrum SPF 50 protection. It won’t sting your eyes, and it easily rubs into wet skin as well. Of course, it is made to be water and sweat-resistant.
5. Oars + Alps Hydrating Antioxidant Sunscreen and Sunblock Spray
Oars + Alps Hydrating Antioxidant sunscreen spray is specifically made for men’s skin, and provides broad spectrum SPF 50. It has a refreshing scent that includes notes of amber, bamboo, and coconut water. This sunscreen is water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and it’s not greasy. It includes naturally-derived ingredients like Alpine Caribou Moss and Olive Leaf Extract to provide antioxidants and hydration (and the ingredients are naturally environmentally friendly). There is no Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Parabens, Phthalates, and Sulfates, plus the formula is packaged in a non-aerosol, recyclable can.
6. Supergoop! PLAY Antioxidant Mist SPF 50
Another sunscreen spray to consider is Supergoop’s travel-friendly PLAY Antioxidant Mist SPF 50. It contains ingredients such as Vitamin C, green tea extract, and acai extract. It leaves skin glowing, and it resists water and sweat for up to 80 minutes. Supergoop! is praised for its clean ingredients, and it’s ideal for all skin types.
7. Banana Boat Ultra Sport Reef Friendly Sunscreen (Twin-Pack)
Available at most drug stores, Banana Boat’s Ultra Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 has been around for a long time. This twin-pack gives you the best of both worlds – a spray and a lotion. The lotion rubs in easily to coat your skin with protection; if you’re in a hurry, the spray can be your choice. It has all of the main features of a sunscreen for sports and distributes evenly over the body. Additionally, it’s made for seven conditions: sun, pool water, ocean water, wind, sweat, sand and extreme heat. This sunscreen is the top choice for high-intensity activities. It’s reef-friendly too, making it a great eco-conscious pick.