The 9 Best Sunscreens for Runners of 2020

Keep your skin safe and sunburn-free

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Our Top Picks
"Its bottle turns from white to blue in the presence of harmful UV rays, so you’ll know exactly when to apply."
"It turns invisible on any skin tone, so you don’t have to worry about the white mask look when you’re running."
"It provides excellent broad-spectrum sun protection without feeling greasy or leaving a white residue."
"The budget-friendly SPF 30 sunscreen leaves behind no white residue or stickiness, and is sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes."
"Dermatologist-tested and approved, this SPF 60 sunscreen offers the superior protection you need for the delicate skin on your face."
"Noncomedogenic and oil-free, this sunscreen won't clog pores and is perfect for acne-prone and sensitive skin."
"This zinc-based SPF pick is perfect for runners who also like to swim, because it's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes."
"Runners love that the bottle keeps spraying even when it’s upside down, so they can easily cover those tough-to-reach spots."
"Since it’s an invisible gel, it doesn’t leave a white haze behind, and its breathable formula allows sweat to evaporate."

Slathering on sunscreen before a run is as essential as wearing a good pair of running shoes, especially in the warmer months when the sun’s strong UVB rays can quickly lead to sunburn.

Runners should try to apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before heading out for a run to allow time for it to absorb, and reapply every hour. The best sunscreens for runners are 30 SPF or higher, easy to apply, and water- and sweat-resistant. Whether you prefer sticks, lotions, or sprays, we've researched the best options for all your needs.

Best Overall: BLUE LIZARD Sport Mineral-Based Sunscreen

If you’re ever unsure about whether you need sunscreen on a cloudy day, Blue Lizard Mineral-Based UPF 30+ Sunscreen takes the guesswork out of it. Its unique, patented UV photo-sensitive bottle turns from white to blue in the presence of harmful UV rays, so you’ll know exactly when to apply.

But it’s not just this unique and helpful feature that puts Blue Lizard at the top of our list. The dermatologist-recommended, hypoallergenic formula contains only high-quality, non-irritating, natural minerals to provide highly effective, broad-spectrum UVA and UVB skin protection.

Free of fragrances and chemicals, it’s safe and effective for even the most sensitive skin types. Unlike some other mineral-based sunscreens, it’s not thick and spreads onto skin easily and effortlessly.

Best Stick: Shiseido WetForce Clear Stick UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Sunscreen

If you hate the sticky, shiny residue that some stick sunscreens leave behind, you should give Shiseido Wetforce Clear Stick SPF 50+ Sunscreen a try. Intended for use during outdoor activities and sports, it’s non-greasy, goes on easily, and leaves skin feeling smooth.

The sunscreen’s WetForce technology makes its protective veil even stronger once it comes into contact with water or sweat, staying water-resistant for 80 minutes. It’s also noncomedogenic and turns invisible on any skin tone, so you don’t have to worry about the “white mask” look when you’re running.

Perfect for travel and on-the-go application, you can throw it in your bag without worrying about accidental leaks or spills.

Best Non-Greasy: Supergoop! Everyday Play SPF 50 Lotion

No one likes the feel of greasy sunscreen on their skin, but avoiding SPF all together isn't the right solution. According to dermatologists, people are often exposed to harmful rays without knowing it, and "even incidental sun exposure for only ten to 15 minutes a day adds up over time," said Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon in New York.

Luckily, this non-greasy option by Supergoop! is fast-absorbing, highly-effective, and won’t leave runners feeling sticky. While it’s thin and easy to spread, it provides excellent SPF 50 broad-spectrum sun protection without feeling greasy or leaving a white residue.

For runners concerned about breakouts, it’s oil-free and noncomedogenic, as well as rich in antioxidants.

Best Budget: Coppertone Sport Clear SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion

If you frequently run outdoors and go through a ton of sunscreen, you'll want an affordable choice. This budget-friendly SPF 30 sunscreen from Coppertone is a clear lotion that feels cool when you apply it, leaving behind no white residue or stickiness.

Despite its reasonable price tag, it’s free of PABA, dyes, and synthetic preservatives, and it's also sweat- and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Quick Tip

According to our expert, runners who sweat easily during exercise should apply sunscreen one hour before going outside so that it can absorb properly. "Look for oil-free and water-resistant sunscreen, because it won't run as much as other sunscreens when you sweat. Runny sunscreen can make workouts very uncomfortable, especially if it gets in the eyes." —Dr. Dendy Engelman, board-certified dermatologic surgeon in New York.

Best for Face: La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Face Sunscreen-SPF 60

Even if your running gear consists of a hat or visor, your face will still get plenty of sun exposure on the run. Dermatologist-tested and approved, La Roche's Ultra-Light Face Sunscreen SPF 60 offers the superior protection you need for the delicate skin on your face, while also keeping the skin hydrated and helping to visibly reduce the appearance of sun damage.

Noncomedogenic and allergy-tested, this sunscreen is perfect for sensitive and breakout-prone skin. It’s ultra-lightweight, non-greasy, and translucent, so it won’t leave your face with a shiny appearance or white residue. While you’ll pay a bit more for it than some other facial sunscreens, you know you’re getting a high-quality, very effective product.

Best for Acne: Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen

The combination of sweat and sunscreen can lead to some bad breakouts, but Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free sunscreen can keep your face protected and clear.

The SPF 55 sunscreen is PABA-free, noncomedogenic, and oil-free, so it’s perfect for sensitive skin and won’t clog your pores, aggravate your skin, or cause acne breakouts.

Formulated with clinically-proven Helioplex, an advanced sunscreen technology, the lotion offers superior broad-spectrum protection from skin-aging UVA rays and skin burning UVB rays. It’s also sweat-proof and water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it running in your eyes when you’re getting your miles in.

Best Water-Resistant: All Good Sport Sunscreen Lotion Water Resistant SPF 30

If you want a sunscreen that’s ideal for swimming as well as running, this pick is for you. Although it’s zinc-based, it goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly into the skin. The SPF 30 sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, after which it should be re-applied.

It's made of all-natural ingredients like organic green tea, aloe, and leaf extract. It’s also vegan, gluten-free, biodegradable and coral reef-friendly, so you can feel good about using it.

Best Spray: COOLA Organic Sunscreen Body Spray SPF 50

Coola Organic Sunscreen SPF 30 Spray gives you the convenience and effectiveness of a sunscreen spray without all the harsh chemicals. Runners love that the bottle keeps spraying even when it’s upside down, so they can easily cover those tough-to-reach spots.

Rich in antioxidants like aloe and strawberry seed extract, and skin-nourishing ingredients, this sheer formula rubs in quickly without feeling greasy, and is also water- and sweat-resistant.

Best Gel: Bull Frog Land Sport Quik Gel Sunscreen SPF 50

Runners need a sunscreen that stays on and can hold up to water, sweat, and rubbing. This BullFrog Quik Gel sunscreen checks all those boxes and more, with a non-greasy, ultra-light formula that’s easy to apply.

The SPF 50 sunscreen absorbs quickly and, since it’s an invisible gel, it doesn’t leave a white haze behind. The sunscreen’s breathable Sweat TECH technology allows sweat to evaporate, so you stay as cool as possible during those hot weather runs.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

An avid runner and marathon running coach, Christine Luff prefers a spray sunscreen like Coola Organic Continuous Sunscreen Spray for all-over, easy application. For her face, she uses Neutrogena Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen to avoid irritation and sweat-induced breakouts. She’s also a big fan of Blue Lizard sunscreens, especially for her two fair-skinned kids, who love to run.

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