Not to put a damper on your summer plans, but all that time you spend riding the waves in Hawaii and running the Appalachian Trail comes at a price—specifically, a higher risk of skin cancer, according to one 2009 review in the journal Sports Health. The researchers concluded that athletes who trained outdoors were more likely to be exposed to higher amounts of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. A big reason: Training tends to happen when the sun is strongest (mid-day, or around 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.). Which raises the question: What are the best sunscreens for athletes?
Thankfully, sunscreen manufacturers now offer sport formulas for athletes who’ll be spending at least a few hours exercising outdoors. And many of these sunscreens tend to be drier than their general-use counterparts, which will give you a better grip on, say, your paddle or the next obstacle at a Tough Mudder. The ideal options are water-resistant, offer a broad-spectrum (both UVA and UVB) coverage, and have an SPF of at least 30, says Jordan B. Slutsky, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stony Brook University in New York.
Of course, why add anything to your skin that will aggravate perspiration? Simple: You need to shield your skin from the sun. Athletes need sunscreens that block harmful UV rays while also keeping pores unclogged, so all that sweat can escape.
These sunblocks (and SPF-packed moisturizers) are your best bet for preventing sunburn while letting your body perspire normally. Lightweight and long-lasting, these lotions and sprays are some of the best sunscreens for athletes around right now. The decision is no sweat.
The Best Sunscreens for Athletes
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