Suncare Month

The 8 Absolute Best Sport Sunscreens To Wear When Working Out

I put them all to the sweat test.

The best sport sunscreens to wear when sweating.
Getty Images/ Brad Gregory

Typically, I’m doing a great job when I apply sunscreen — any sunscreen — to my face in the morning. As long as it’s broad-spectrum and sits well under makeup, my skin is covered in the sun protection department. But when I decide to work out outside (or go on a hike or to the beach or merely walk around New York City in the summer heat), another SPF feature becomes of utmost importance: water (and sweat) resistance.

This is something you don’t want to learn the hard way. Essentially, your sunscreen will melt off your face (or your body) as you sweat or swim — which means your skin will no longer be protected from the sun. “When swimming or doing activities outdoors where you anticipate sweating, wearing a waterproof sunscreen is important,” says Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC. That’s precisely why sport sunscreens exist, aka SPF formulas that are meant to withstand schvitzing. “These sunscreens are specifically formulated to allow for sustained protection against UV rays, even when one’s skin is wet,” Mudgil explains.

That said, it’s important to remember that sweat-resistant or water-resistant sunscreens aren’t completely waterproof. Mudgil notes that they’ll still need to be reapplied to maintain their protective effects. “They’re generally rated to provide protection for either 40 or 80 minutes when wet,” he tells Bustle. The product label will tell you when you should slather on some more.

Since these products are so essential for your skin — especially this time of year — I tested a bunch while working out to see which rank as the best sport sunscreens for all your sweaty activities. Keep scrolling to shop my picks.

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The Expert

Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC. He’s certified in both dermatology and dermatopathology and is well versed in all aspects of medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology.

The Protective Liquid

This is probably my favorite SPF to wear when working out. It offers broad-spectrum SPF 50 coverage, and comes in a milky watery texture that feels nice on the skin and soaks in without leaving a white cast. Even though it’s a liquid, it doesn’t feel sticky or greasy at all — it just absorbs immediately upon application for easy coverage that feels nicely hydrating. You get protection for up to 40 minutes after swimming or sweating, which I can attest to: I’ve successfully worn it during multiple workouts and even a beach hangout (ocean dip included) without getting a sunburn.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 9%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 9%, Cress Sprout Extract, Wild Butterfly Ginger Root Extract, Glycerin

The Moisturizer-SPF Hybrid

This is a true multitasker: It’s an antioxidant-rich moisturizer that also provides SPF 50 protection that’s water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Despite having a high SPF number, it absorbs beautifully for totally sheer coverage that also happens to sit nicely underneath makeup. Even as sweat dripped into my eyes mid-run, it didn’t sting.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 1.75%, Homosalate 5.0%, Octisalate 2.0%, Octocrylene 5.0%, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Buriti Oil, Prickly Pear Extract, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice

The SPF That Doubles As A Primer

Venus Williams has an amazing line of sunscreen products, the majority of which are (surprise) formulated for sport. Her Ace the Day Face Lotion SPF 30 provides an invisible layer of mineral-based sun protection that goes on sheer regardless of skin tone and keeps you covered as you sweat. Besides being sweat-resistant, though, you can also use it as a moisturizing face lotion or a primer (seriously, it goes on super smooth) since it contains soothing allantoin to help your skin retain moisture and silica to subtly blur redness or spots on the face.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Allantoin, Coconut Fruit Extract, Silica

The Skin Tint

This broad-spectrum mineral-based SPF 50 from Naomi Osaka’s skin care line was created with melanin-rich skin tones in mind. It provides a very glowy tint that evens out the complexion while still feeling really breathable, so you get light coverage as you wear its 80-minute water-resistant formula. It felt super moisturizing (thanks to allantoin, glycerin, and niacinamide), but didn’t blend well on my paler complexion despite claiming to be a universal tinted shade.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Safflower Seed Oil, Allantoin

The Skin Soother

Despite the sweat-fest of a HIIT workout I endured while testing this sunscreen, it never burned my eyes or suffocated my skin. It has a tint when it comes out of the bottle, but immediately melted into my complexion for invisible coverage — and it’s meant to do the same on all skin tones. As you wear it, you’re also getting the skin-smoothing benefits of rice and soy extract, pink rock rose, and anti-inflammatory ginger root, plus protection from damaging blue light. Since I’m a sucker for a multitasking SPF, this one’s a definite win.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Pink Rock Rose, Rice + Soy Complex, Ginger Root Extract

The Barrier-Boosting Option

If you’re always looking for the highest SPF coverage, do yourself a favor and snag this broad-spectrum sport sunscreen from Kinship. You get SPF 60, moisture that doesn’t budge or melt off as you sweat, and the most subtle glow. It contains a lot of superstar ingredients — think ceramides, probiotics, and turmeric — that replenish your skin barrier, so it’s working double duty as you sweat. This one requires a little more blending in order to fully absorb, but I love how breathable it feels on my face when I run.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Glycerin, Aloe Leaf Juice, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Ceramides, Turmeric Oil, Probiotics, Licorice Root Extract

The Body Sunscreen

I’m so grateful that Vacation’s Classic Lotion SPF 30 Sunscreen is water-resistant because it’s the only body formula that I’m not annoyed to apply (or reapply). That’s all because of its famously nostalgic scent that has notes of pool water, banana, coconut, and ‘80s swimsuits. The formula is amazing, too: It feels creamy upon application and works on all skin tones to provide lightweight broad-spectrum coverage.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (2.5%), Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (8%), Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, Banana Extract, Niacinamide, Vitamin E

The Spray

Sometimes you just want a sunscreen you can spritz on and go. When I’m feeling too lazy to apply a lotion-based sunscreen, I always reach for this SPF 60 spray from La Roche-Posay. What’s especially great about this one is that you can spray it from all angles, which makes upside-down spritzing A-OK. Lots of spray-based sunscreens tend to feel oily, but this one fully absorbs without leaving any residue behind.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2.68%, Homosalate 9.60%, Octisalate 2.88%, Octocrylene 5.38%, Oxybenzone 3.46%, Glycerin, Thermal Spring Water