We’d like to first clarify that by “athletes”, we’re not just talking about professionals or hard-core amateurs, but everyone. If you’re someone who plays a few sets of tennis on the weekends, a round of Frisbee golf at the local park, or anything in between, this post is for you, too.
Although there are certainly specific sunscreens that grade out better than others, first know that one of the most important aspects for determining a top athletic sunscreen is what they contain, and how they perform.
You’ve likely seen the letters SPF countless times while walking down any store’s Health and Beauty Care aisle. They stand for Sun Protection Factor, and the number that follows them is there to show you how much, well, sun protection, that particular product will give you. For example, an SPF15 sunscreen protects you for 15 times longer than the length of time you can spend in the sun, without any defenses, before starting to burn.* (Depending on skin tones, that could range (approximately) anywhere from just a few minutes to perhaps an hour.)
Sunscreens labeled between SPF15 to SPF50 will stave off well over 90% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.* You may see some labeled higher than SPF50, but there’s not much research that shows you’ll receive any more protection from anything above that.*
Choose a water or sweat-resistant product because “waterproof” does not exist. No sunscreen is completely waterproof no matter what the bottle reads. And the water-resistant kind is only water-resistant temporarily. But it helps, because water and sweat works to erode any sunscreen’s effectiveness faster than it would erode otherwise. That’s why frequent re-application is key regardless of what you’re using.
A board-certified dermatologist quoted in the second source article provided below recommends “using mineral-based products that are made with zinc oxide.” And that “you should avoid sun care products that include avobenzone, oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and anything that promises an SPF value above 50.”*
Both source articles provide links to numerous highly-ranked sunscreens within them, should you choose to peruse a few lists of specific brands.
Sunscreen aside, don’t underestimate the protective power of hats and clothing and using a Sundicators once per day. For under the cost of a cup of coffee, Sundicators are the Skin-surance you need to tell you when to re-apply. While it’s understandable that excessive clothes can make you hotter and more restricted during your outdoor activities, just please keep in mind the more you do wear, the more safeguarded you will be. Also, stay in the shade whenever possible. Unfortunately, not all fields and courts have dugouts the way baseball parks do, but at least make do with what you have. Trees are great for shade.
*Source articles for supplemental information: Howstuffworks.com, Theactivetimes.com
Sundicators: The Best Skin-surance Under the Sun!
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