What SPF Sunscreen Should You Wear To Exercise Outside

What SPF sunscreen should you wear to exercise outside? In short, when exercising outside, it is recommended to wear sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating of at least 30, that is water-resistant and sweat-proof, and contains mineral-based ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Sunscreen for Outdoor Exercise

There are several factors you should consider while choosing the best sunscreen for outdoor exercise. The main factors are:

SPF Rating

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how effectively a sunscreen can protect your skin from the harmful UVB rays of the sun. The higher the SPF rating, the more protection it provides. For outdoor exercise, it’s important to choose a sunscreen with a high SPF rating because you’ll be exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. Sun damage can lead to skin cancer, premature aging, and other skin-related problems.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a minimum SPF of 30 for outdoor activities. If you have fair skin, or if you’re planning to exercise during peak sun hours (10 am to 4 pm), consider using a higher SPF sunscreen to protect your skin.

Water-Resistant and Sweat-Proof Formula

When exercising outdoors, it’s important to choose a sunscreen that won’t wash off with sweat or water. This is especially important for activities like swimming, surfing, or other water sports. Water-resistant and sweat-proof formulas are designed to stay on your skin even when you’re sweating or swimming.

Water-resistant sunscreens can withstand up to 40 minutes of water exposure, while sweat-proof sunscreens are designed to stay on your skin even when you’re sweating profusely. Look for sunscreens that are labeled as “water-resistant” or “sweat-proof” to ensure maximum protection during outdoor exercise.

Mineral-Based Ingredients

There are two main types of sunscreens: chemical-based and mineral-based. Chemical-based sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, while mineral-based sunscreens reflect them. Mineral-based sunscreens are generally considered to be safer for your skin because they don’t contain harmful chemicals.

For outdoor exercise, mineral-based sunscreens are a great choice because they offer broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. They’re also less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions, making them ideal for people with sensitive skin.

Look for sunscreens that contain mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for maximum protection during outdoor exercise.

Consistency of the Sunscreen

Sunscreen comes in a variety of consistencies, including creams, lotions, sprays, and sticks. Each type of sunscreen has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Cream and lotion sunscreens are the most common types and are easy to apply to large areas of skin. They’re also less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions. Spray sunscreens are convenient for hard-to-reach areas, but can be difficult to apply evenly. Stick sunscreens are ideal for sensitive areas like your nose and ears, but may not provide enough coverage for larger areas of skin.

When choosing a sunscreen consistency for outdoor exercise, consider factors like ease of application, coverage, and convenience. Creams and lotions are a good choice for most outdoor activities, while sprays and sticks may be more suitable for specific activities or areas of the body.

What are the best sunscreens for outdoor exercise?

When you exercise outdoors, you are exposing your skin to the sun’s UV rays. These rays can cause sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen can help to protect your skin from these harmful effects.

But not all sunscreens are created equal. Some are better suited for outdoor exercise than others. Here are some of our top picks.

1. Sun Bum Original Scent SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion

Sun Bum is a popular sunscreen product that weighs 237 grams and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. The sunscreen lotion provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is formulated with avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene as active ingredients. It is designed to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays and is perfect for outdoor exercise activities, such as running, hiking, and swimming.

One of the essential features of this sunscreen is its SPF 30 rating. The SPF rating refers to the level of protection that a sunscreen provides against UVB radiation. The higher the SPF rating, the greater the protection against sunburn and other forms of skin damage caused by UVB radiation.

With an SPF rating of 30, the Sun Bum lotion offers substantial protection against the sun’s harmful rays. It is recommended to use a minimum SPF 30 rating sunscreen for outdoor exercise, and the Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Lotion meets this requirement.

Another important feature of this sunscreen is its water-resistant and sweat-proof formula. This means that it is designed to resist washing off with sweat or water, making it an ideal choice for outdoor exercise activities that involve water or sweat. It is formulated to maintain its effectiveness for up to 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. The sunscreen lotion is also reef-friendly, so you can use it without worrying about harming the marine environment.

The Sun Bum contains mineral-based ingredients, making it a good choice for those who prefer mineral-based sunscreens over chemical-based ones. Mineral-based sunscreens use natural minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, to provide sun protection, while chemical-based sunscreens use synthetic chemicals.

Mineral-based sunscreens are known to be gentle on the skin and are less likely to cause skin irritation. This lotion contains Hydrated Silica, which is a mineral-based ingredient that helps to absorb excess oil and sweat from the skin while providing a silky smooth texture.

The consistency of the sunscreen lotion is also an essential factor to consider when choosing sunscreen for outdoor exercise. It comes in a cream consistency, which is easy to apply and offers complete coverage. However, it is also available in other consistencies, such as lotion, spray, and stick, to cater to individual preferences. The cream consistency is best suited for outdoor exercise activities as it is easy to apply and offers complete coverage.


  • Offers broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays
  • Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it suitable for swimming and other water activities
  • Contains Vitamin E to help neutralize free radicals and protect the skin from environmental stressors
  • Paraben-free and vegan, making it a suitable choice for those with sensitive skin or who prefer to use cruelty-free products
  • The pleasant, tropical scent that is not overpowering
  • Non-greasy and lightweight formula that absorbs easily into the skin
  • Comes in a convenient pump bottle for easy application
  • Provides SPF 30 protection, which is recommended by dermatologists


  • Contains oxybenzone, which some studies suggest may be harmful to coral reefs and other marine life
  • May not be suitable for those with very fair or sensitive skin, as the SPF 30 may not provide enough protection

In conclusion, the Sun Bum lotion is an excellent sunscreen option for outdoor exercise activities. Its high SPF rating, water-resistant and sweat-proof formula, mineral-based ingredients, and creamy consistency make it a reliable and effective choice for sun protection during outdoor exercise. It is also reef-friendly, hypoallergenic, and free from harmful chemicals, making it a safe and healthy option for your skin.

2. Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen Lotion

Coppertone is the perfect solution for those who want to enjoy the sun without the worry of getting sunburnt. This lightweight sunscreen is specifically designed to provide broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection while also allowing you to achieve a gorgeous tan.

At 15 SPF, this sunscreen provides a moderate level of sun protection, which is ideal for those with medium skin tone. The lotion is enriched with Vitamin E, which helps to moisturize and protect your skin from free radical damage caused by the sun’s rays. This sunscreen is also free of harmful chemicals such as dyes, PABA, and Oxybenzone, making it a safe and healthy option for you and your family.

One of the great things about this sunscreen is its lightweight formula. Unlike other sunscreens that can feel heavy and greasy on the skin, this tanning lotion glides on effortlessly and leaves your skin feeling smooth and silky. The lotion is water-resistant, providing up to 80 minutes of protection in the water, which makes it perfect for a day at the beach or pool.

This Coppertone lotion comes in a convenient 8-fluid-ounce bottle, which is perfect for those who want to stock up for the summer. The lotion is easy to apply and won’t leave any residue on your skin, making it an excellent option for those who want to maintain a natural-looking tan.


  • Contains a broad spectrum SPF of 15, which is suitable for moderate sun exposure and tanning
  • Infused with vitamin E and aloe, which can help moisturize and nourish the skin
  • Easy to apply and rubs in quickly, with a lightweight and non-greasy texture
  • Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it a good option for activities like swimming or sweating
  • Can help promote a natural-looking tan while still providing sun protection


  • SPF 15 may not be enough protection for some skin types, particularly if spending a lot of time in the sun
  • Some users may not like the scent or find it too strong
  • Can be more expensive than other sunscreens on the market, depending on the retailer and location.

In summary, Coppertone lotion is a great choice for those who want to enjoy the sun and achieve a healthy tan without risking sunburn. Its lightweight formula, enriched with Vitamin E, is designed to keep your skin moisturized and protected, while its water-resistant properties make it ideal for water activities. Additionally, the absence of harmful chemicals makes this sunscreen a healthy option for you and your family.

3. EltaMD UV Sunscreen Sport Lotion

EltaMD is a full-body, unscented sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum coverage to protect against UVA and UVB rays from the sun. This sport sunscreen is specially formulated for active lifestyles and outdoor activities and offers 50 SPF sun protection.

The water-resistant sunscreen lotion protects your skin in the water for up to 80 minutes, and it won’t sting when you sweat or rinse off in the water. This feature makes it an ideal choice for water-based outdoor activities such as swimming, surfing, or kayaking.

EltaMD promotes healthy skin while staying active outdoors. It’s made for active lifestyles and can be easily applied to wet or dry skin. Its full-body coverage ensures that all areas of your skin are protected against harmful UV rays.

This sport sunscreen helps protect your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays with essential ingredients including Zinc Oxide and an antioxidant. Zinc Oxide is a natural mineral that provides broad-spectrum protection by reflecting UV rays away from the skin. The antioxidant in the formula helps to neutralize free radicals, which can cause damage to the skin.


  • Water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sports
  • Contains transparent zinc oxide, which provides effective sun protection without leaving a white or chalky residue on the skin
  • Contains Vitamin E to help neutralize free radicals and protect the skin from environmental stressors
  • Comes in a convenient squeeze tube for easy application
  • Provides SPF 50 protection, which is recommended by dermatologists for outdoor activities


  • The price point may be higher compared to other sunscreens on the market
  • The squeeze tube may become difficult to use over time, especially if not properly stored or if the product is not used frequently enough

Overall, EltaMD sunscreen is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality, water-resistant sunscreen that can keep up with an active lifestyle. Its broad-spectrum coverage, high SPF rating, and protective ingredients make it an essential addition to any outdoor adventure or daily routine.

4. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Face Sunscreen

La Roche-Posay is a sunscreen specially designed for sensitive skin. It is oxybenzone-free, oil-free, and non-comedogenic, making it a great choice for those who have acne-prone or oily skin.

The sunscreen provides protection against UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF rating of 60. It is formulated to be lightweight and quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving no residue or shine. The light fluid texture makes it easy to apply and spread evenly, without feeling greasy or heavy on the skin.

La Roche-Posay contains a combination of powerful sun filters to protect against harmful rays. Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL are two of the active ingredients in sunscreen, which are known to provide excellent protection against UVA rays. The sunscreen is also enriched with antioxidants to help fight free radicals, which can cause damage to the skin.

This sunscreen is dermatologist-tested and safe for sensitive skin. It is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and paraben-free, making it an ideal choice for those with reactive or allergy-prone skin. The formula is also non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts.


  • Contains Mexoryl SX and XL, which are photostable filters that provide long-lasting protection against sun damage
  • Lightweight, non-greasy, and easily absorbed into the skin, making it a good option for everyday use
  • Provides a matte finish that can help control shine and oiliness throughout the day
  • Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it suitable for outdoor activities and swimming


  • May not provide enough moisturization for those with very dry skin, so an additional moisturizer may be needed underneath
  • May cause irritation or breakouts for some users, although this is rare

Overall, La Roche-Posay sunscreen is an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin who want broad-spectrum protection from the sun. Its lightweight, non-greasy formula makes it easy to wear under makeup or on its own, and its high SPF rating ensures your skin is well protected from the sun’s harmful rays.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to outdoor exercise, protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is essential. These five SPF sunscreens are all great options for people who are looking to exercise outside.

Whether you prefer a lightweight, non-greasy formula or a refreshing, cooling sensation, there is a sunscreen on this list that will meet your needs. So next time you head out for a run or a bike ride, don’t forget to protect your skin with one of these top-rated SPF sunscreens.

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