Using sunscreen is one of the most popular and effective methods of protecting our skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. But have you ever applied sunscreen only to find yourself with a sunburn a few hours later? You may not have applied enough sunscreen, or your sunscreen may have worn off. For those of us that enjoy outdoor sports in the summer, selecting the proper sunscreen is especially important for sport sun safety. Luckily, there are a wide variety of sunscreen options available, and many are formulated specially for use while exercising.

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What’s special about sport sunscreens?

Compared to regular sunscreens, sport sunscreens are often made with different ingredients that make them water- and sweat-resistant. This prevents the sunscreen from running off of your skin while you’re sweating. Even if you’re not sweating heavily, sports sunscreens often have better-staying power compared to regular sunscreens. This helps keep the sunscreen on your skin despite any friction or physical contact with others. Even though sport sunscreens hold up better than regular sunscreens, they aren’t completely water- and sweat-proof; it’s still important to reapply sport sunscreen after swimming, excessive sweating, or towel drying. It’s also important to note that sunscreens are water- and sweat-resistant for up to 40 or 80 minutes. After your 40 or 80 minutes are up, it’s a good idea to reapply.

Extra protection for summer athletes

If you’ve read our previous post, you’ll know that some scary things can happen if you don’t wear sunglasses. Summer athletes should opt for wraparound sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays. Also, wearing a baseball cap or a wide-brimmed hat with a chin strap can help provide some shade to your face while you’re being active outdoors. Don’t forget to also apply a sunscreen to your face, unless you want to look like Kim Kardashian after her sunglasses fiasco of 2009.

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Buyer beware!

Just because a sunscreen is labelled as a “sport” sunscreen doesn’t necessarily mean it is water- and sweat-resistant. To make sure that sunscreen is safe to use while swimming or sweating excessively, use the Sun Index Sunscreen Checklist. It’ll let you know if a particular sport sunscreen is truly water-resistant. You can download Sun Index for free on Android and iOS devices.