The Best Sunscreen for Runners

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Running outdoors gives you a healthy aerobic workout and the visual interest of a changing landscape. It also puts you into close proximity with the elements, including rain and sunshine. If you're a regular runner, applying sunscreen should be as essential to your pre-run routine as stretching.


If you're a regular runner, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. You can choose a physical sunscreen — like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — that deflects the sun's rays before they can come into contact with your skin or a chemical sunscreen — like avobenzone or oxybenzone — that absorbs the sun's rays before they can damage your skin, explains CNN Health. Choose a sunscreen that doesn't contain added fragrance or color, which can irritate your skin, and opt for one that's water-resistant to stand up to sweat.


To make the most of your sunscreen as a runner, apply approximately 1 oz. of sunscreen — the equivalent of one shot glass — about 30 minutes before your run. Use sunscreen even on cloudy or drizzly days, because UV rays can penetrate the clouds, according to CNN Health. On long runs, you may need to bring extra sunscreen to reapply, especially if it's very hot or humid or if you sweat a lot when you're running since these factors can give sunscreen a shorter lifespan.


If you think sunscreen will make you sweat more during your run, think again. Sunscreen can actually help cool you off while you're running by capturing heat and releasing it back into the air before it penetrates your skin, explains Ellen Marmur, a dermatologic surgeon in New York City, in "Fitness" magazine. Just like evaporating sweat, sunscreen can actually make your skin feel slightly cooler.

Expert Insight

If you have an issue with sunscreen getting in your eyes while you run, look for a sunscreen that contains polymers designed to bond the sunscreen to your skin and prevent dripping. Sunscreens designed for endurance athletes are a good bet or sunscreen sticks, which are made of a waxy substance that won't sweat off.