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5 best sweat proof sunscreen for runners and athletes – independently tested!

banana boat sport ultra sweat proof sunscreen SPF 50

As a runner, you know the importance of staying active and enjoying the great outdoors. With the sun’s rays beaming down, it’s crucial to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation. However, finding the right sweat proof sunscreen that won’t budge or run into your eyes during a sweaty run can be a challenge.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top five sweat-proof sun creams available in the UK. With these sunscreens, you can focus on your run while keeping your skin safe and protected.

From our own independent tests we picked the Banana BoatSport Performance sunscreen as our favourite product. This is not just a great product for runners, but we also thought it was best for those doing triathlons and ironman training. This is because of the waterproof nature of the sunscreen lasting far longer than the other products we tested.

We have also shopped around to find you the best deals. For example the Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen currently has an offer for 2 for £37.00 at Amazon.

When buying sunscreen for sports activities, it’s important to consider several key factors to ensure effective protection and comfort. Here are 10 things to look out for:

  1. Broad-Spectrum Protection: Look for sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum protection, meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, while UVB rays can burn your skin.
  2. Water Resistance: Since sports often involve sweating or water contact, choose a sunscreen labeled as water-resistant. Check how long the sunscreen remains effective while swimming or sweating (usually 40 to 80 minutes).
  3. SPF Rating: Select a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 for adequate protection. Higher SPF ratings offer more protection, but no sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays.
  4. Non-Greasy Formula: For comfort during physical activity, look for a non-greasy formula. This helps prevent the sunscreen from feeling heavy or clogging your pores, which is important during exercise.
  5. Quick Absorption: A sunscreen that absorbs quickly into the skin is preferable, so it doesn’t rub off easily on clothes or sports equipment.
  6. Fragrance-Free and Hypoallergenic: If you have sensitive skin, choose a fragrance-free and hypoallergenic formula to reduce the risk of skin irritation.
  7. Durability and Sweat-Proof Quality: Ensure the sunscreen is durable and can withstand vigorous activities without needing frequent reapplication.
  8. Easy Application: Look for sunscreens that are easy to apply, like sprays or sticks, especially for hard-to-reach areas if you’re applying it yourself.
  9. Non-Comedogenic: This means the sunscreen won’t clog pores, which is important to prevent acne, especially for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
  10. Eco-Friendly and Coral Safe: If you’re swimming in natural bodies of water, consider sunscreens that are eco-friendly and coral safe, as some ingredients in sunscreens can harm marine life.

Remember, no matter how good your sunscreen is, it’s important to reapply it every two hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating heavily. Additionally, complementing sunscreen with other protective measures like wearing hats, sunglasses, and UV-protective clothing can provide more comprehensive protection against the sun.

How we Tested the Sweat Proof Sunscreens

The boring bit, how we tested the sweat proof sunscreens. We gave all five that made the shortlist to a male and female athlete who are both training for a triathlon. One was doing an olympic length triathlon and the other a sprint length triathlon.

Both were training in the UK (with a one-weekend training camp in Spain). The test took place in the UK heatwave of late May, early June, where temperatures rose to around 25 degrees. The trained in the middle of the day, when the sun was at its strongest. More fool them we say!

Here is what they said.

Keep Running and Stay Protected: The Top 5 Sweat-Proof Sun Screen for Runners in the UK

Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50: £37.00 for two, Amazon

Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion is a popular choice among runners due to its sweat-proof formula. This sunscreen is specifically designed for sports enthusiasts, providing long-lasting protection even during intense physical activities.

Its high SPF 50 offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, shielding your skin from harmful rays. The non-greasy formula absorbs quickly and won’t cause discomfort while running.

“We both loved it and felt it was the best by far. We loved the smell of this product and how robust it was compared the others that we tested. The best by a country mile (or KM).”

banana boat sport ultra sunscreen SPF 50 from Amazon

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 70: £37.57 from Amazon

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen is another fantastic option for runners seeking sweat-resistant protection. With its SPF 70, this sunscreen provides excellent defence against harmful UV rays.

Its dry-touch formula feels light on the skin and leaves no oily residue, making it ideal for active individuals. The water-resistant feature ensures that the sunscreen stays in place, even as you sweat.

“We felt it was really high end but the comparatively small amount that you get for the price makes is impractical for a long, summer, training camp. SPF 70 was a real bonus though.”

Neutrogenar ultra Sheer dry-touch Broad spectrum SPF 70 sweat proof sunscreen

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50+: £22.79 at Amazon

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid is a highly recommended sunscreen for runners due to its lightweight, non-greasy texture. This sunscreen offers an impressive SPF 50+ protection, shielding your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

The sweat-proof formula ensures that the sunscreen stays on your skin, even during vigorous runs. Additionally, it’s suitable for sensitive skin and is dermatologically tested, making it a reliable choice for all runners.

“Another quite expensive but high end feeling product. Probably the easiest to apply and we even got asked about it by fellow athletes in our training camp! The glam end of the sweat proof sunscreen market!”

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+

Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen SPF 50: 2 100ml tubes £10.50 from Amazon

Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen is an affordable yet reliable option for runners. Developed by dermatologists, this sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection with its SPF 50. Its non-greasy and water-resistant formula ensures it stays put, even when you work up a sweat.

The lightweight texture allows for easy application and quick absorption, so you can hit the road without any discomfort.

“This came really highly recommended but it was probably the most disappointing in its performance. One of us clearly did not apply it correctly because we resembled a tiger thanks to some annoying streaks of missed patches.”

Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Transparent Sun Cream Spray SPF 30: £6.50 from Boots

Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Transparent Sun Cream Spray is a convenient option for runners who prefer a spray sunscreen. This spray offers SPF 30 protection and has a clear, non-greasy formula that doesn’t leave any white residue.

Its sweat-resistant properties make it an excellent choice for active individuals. The spray format allows for easy and even application, ensuring you’re protected from the sun’s harmful rays throughout your run.

The relatively low price does not mean you should ignore this product either. In our tests (swim, bike, run) it performed really well considering its pricing point. We would thoroughly recommend this product.

When it comes to running under the sun, protecting your skin is paramount. The top five sweat-proof sun cream mentioned above are specifically designed to cater to the needs of active individuals, including runners.

With their high SPF ratings, sweat resistance, and non-greasy formulas, these sunscreens will keep your skin safe while you focus on achieving your running goals. So, lather up and hit the road with confidence, knowing that you’re protected from harmful UV rays. Happy running!

Andy Barr
the authorAndy Barr
Editorial Lead
Andy was late arriving into the world of fitness, running and training. He did not really take up regular gym going until he was in his late 30's. He lost over 7 stone in weight since starting and completed an olympic length triathlon in June 2018. He enjoys playing football, boxing and outdoor running.

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