Dermatologists Rank the Best Sunscreens For Outdoor Exercise

There are so many different types of sun protection out there that it can be hard to tell which one is right for your skin type, much less which ones you want to wear for an outdoor workout. From chemical sunscreens to physical blockers, it can be hard to decipher what is what. No matter what route you want to go, the important thing to remember is to wear sunscreen in the first place. Also, don’t let the sun scare you from working out outdoors. Vitamin D is important for our bodies, and working out in the warm weather will certainly get those endorphins pumping.

For some perspective on all the sun protection choices available, we asked some top dermatologists to weigh in on what to look in a sunscreen for outdoor workouts.

For sweaty skin

Let’s face it, the point of working out is to break a sweat, but sometimes sweat and sunscreen just don’t mix. Anyone who has ever felt the sting of sunscreen in their eyes knows that a sweat-proof formula is the way to go. Dr. Howard Sobel recommends Neutrogena Wet Skin Spray SPF 30. “This is a broad spectrum sunscreen, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays,” he says. “It is easy to apply and is water-resistant for about 80 minutes. It does not drip or look white on the skin, and can be applied to wet skin.”

Buy it now: Neutrogena Wet Skin Spray SPF 30, $11

For sensitive skin

Dr. Sobel recommends Aveeno Protect Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen with Broad spectrum SPF 50 for those with skin sensitivities. He likes this formula because it is also a broad spectrum sunscreen, but has the addition of colloidal oatmeal to hydrate and soothe the skin.

Buy it now: Aveeno Protect Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen, $5

For acne-prone skin

Dermatologists in Florida know their sunscreen better than most. Florida-based board-certified dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon Dr. Alysa Herman says, “Many of my patients, particularly with oily or acne-prone skin admit to not wearing sunscreen because they’re either afraid of the formula causing breakouts or don’t want to add excess shine.” She likes La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen formula because it’s comfortable to wear and lacks shine.

Buy it now: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen, $20 

For people on the go

For her clients who work out, Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi of Capital Laser & Skincare likes physical blockers for the face, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. She prefers a sunscreen that spreads easily and is at least an SPF of 30. Try a natural physical sunblock stick, like one from the Honest Company. “A good option is a stick sunscreen if you play a sport where you need to hold something, like golf or tennis, because you can apply it without your hands getting greasy,” she explains.

Buy it now: The Honest Company Purely Simple Sunscreen Spray, $14

For picky sunscreen users

For those who don’t like the feel of sunscreen on their skin, try an ultra-lightweight formula. Dr. Dendy E. Engelman recommends Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50+ for his patients. “For athletes, and all my patients, I suggest using a physical sunscreen that helps protect against environmental damage and free radicals,” he explains. He likes this formula because it is a physical blocker that uses 11% zinc oxide, which means a high UVA and UVB protection factor. “This ultra-lightweight emulsion can be applied without a greasy feel so whether you’re in the gym or out for a run, there’s no unwanted residue to make you feel slippery or tacky after working up a good sweat,” he adds.

Buy it now: Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion Suncreen, $55 

Lisa Bensley is the founder of BeautyByBenz, a health and beauty blog that is really just an excuse to buy too much makeup. When she is not writing, she's probably boxing, obsessing over her Dachshund, Stanley, reading, or binge-watching Law & Order: SVU. Follow her (and Stanley's) antics on Instagram.