Outdoor Products to Promote Sun Safety While Exercising

Keep Your Skin Safe When Heading Outside

Reducing sun exposure and its potential aftermath (sunburns, wrinkles, skin cancer—you get the picture), is serious business. But for active individuals, laying low and avoiding the sun isn't an option. You want to get out there, knock out your workout, compete like a beast, and pretty much slay whatever fit adventure the world lays at your feet. The good news is, you can. With the right products at your finger tips (and covering your body), you can keep your skin protected and your sun exposure low. Here are a few of the best products to promote sweaty and safe sunny day workouts.


High-Quality, Sweat-Proof Sunscreen

sun protective products sunscreen
All Good/Waxhead

Commercial sunscreens have gotten a bit of a bad reputation due to their use of supposedly toxic ingredients, such as oxybenzone.

The American Academy of Dermatology reports that the chemicals found in sunscreens are safe and FDA-approved. However, if you prefer to avoid chemicals you can seek out sunscreens that use 100-percent natural ingredients.

For instance, All Good has a full line of all-natural sport sunscreens featuring UVA/UVB broad-spectrum SPF 30 and water and sweat resistance for up to 80 minutes. And because they offer sprays, sticks, lotions, and "butters," you can choose the option that works best for you.

If you want to get even more all-natural than that, Waxhead's broad-spectrum SPF 30 sun sticks are made of only four ingredients—zinc oxide, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic beeswax, and organic cocoa powder—and likewise offer water and sweat resistance for 80 minutes.


UPF-Protective Pants and Leggings

upf products pants
OKIINO/Tasc Performance/Mott50

Ultraviolet protection factor, or UPF, is pretty much the clothing version of sunscreen's SPF. It's UVA and UVB broad-spectrum sun protection built straight into your clothing's fabric.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the highest-rated UPF certification is UPF 50+, which blocks out more than 1/50th (or 98-percent) of the sun's ultraviolet rays.

All of OKIINO's fashionable leggings offer UPF 50+ protection and are designed to take you from the beach to the yoga studio in style—just check out their colorful ombre "scales" leggings as the perfect example.

But OKIINO isn't the only great brand offering UPF 50+ protection. Tasc Performance's Nola Crop is a great option if you're looking for a shorter athletic pant. Or if you're the type who likes a looser-fitting jogger, Mott50's Pale Girl Speaks drawstring pant is the perfect, comfy and breathable solution. Both Tasc and Mott50 use a bamboo blend in their fabric that makes everything they sell sun protective. And Mott50 can actually boast UPF 50+ protection in everything they sell.


UPF-Protective Tops

UPF protective tops
Patagonia/Toad&Co/Tasc Performance

Just like you need to keep your lower body protected when exercising outside, you need to take steps to protect your upper body, too. Lots of brands have UPF tops made specifically for outdoor exercise, so always look for the UPF tag.

The Patagonia Sunshade Hoodie is made specifically for warm weather, providing lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric with UPF 50+ protection. Plus, the high neckline, built-in thumb holes, and attached hoodie are the perfect way to extend coverage over the tops of your hands, neck, and scalp.

If you need a top to take you from a morning run to a river trip with friends, Toad&Co's UPF 50+ Sola LS Shirt is a good choice. It features quick-drying fabric and a lightweight fit, as well as extra coverage with long sleeves. It also features exercise-friendly features like a no-show zippered side pocket and no-chafe gusseted underarms.

UPF fabric, of course, only protects the skin that's covered by the fabric, so short sleeves and tank tops won't offer as much protection as long-sleeve tops, but in the middle of summer, sometimes stripping down is the only way to feel comfortable. Tasc Performance's lightweight NOLA tank is the perfect top to wear at the gym or during an outdoor boot camp, providing the moisture-wicking, anti-odor technology you want with the added benefit of UPF 50+ protection.


Headbands and Hats

UPF protective hats

It's easy to assume the hair on your head offers enough protection from the sun, but that's not true.

According to the UNC School of Medicine, the most lethal melanomas are on the scalp and neck. While these cancers account for a relatively low number of all reported melanomas (about 6 percent of melanoma skin cancers), they account for 10 percent of all melanoma deaths.

By simply donning a UPF-rated hat whenever you head outside, you can keep your scalp under cover while also offering extra shade to your face, ears, and neck. ​Buff's Pack Run Cap is the perfect, colorful option if you're a hardcore outdoor athlete. It's lightweight, moisture wicking, and has a low-profile inside sweat band to keep sweat out of your eyes when you're on the run. Plus, of course, the upper panel offers UPF 50+ protection.

For lower-key outdoor workouts, like a day of hiking or canoeing at the lake, check out Wallaroo Hats, a brand that offers a full line-up of cute and casual UPF 50+ head wear. The bucket-like Naomi is an especially cute option.

While headbands don't offer as much total coverage, they're a good option for providing extra protection, especially around the hairline. Which, by the way, is where my first basal cell carcinoma popped up. Phunkshun Wear provides wider, breathable, sweat-wicking headbands made from 100-percent recycled plastic bottles that offer UPF 50+ protection. Plus, they come in really cute patterns and styles.


Sweet Sunnies

upf protective sunglasses
adidas Eyewear

Keeping your eyes shaded from the sun won't just protect your eyes from sun damage, but it will help prevent wrinkles that tend to develop from excessive squinting. While practically all major sunglasses brands provide 100-percent broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, the trick is finding sunglasses that work as well during outdoor sports as they do when hanging out at the pool.

Adidas Sport eyewear pretty much knocks this one out of the park with the release of their Sport essentials line of shades. For instance, the fashionable and functional Baboa, Excalate, and Wildcharge styles all feature polycarbonate lenses for enhanced vision, double-snap nose pads for comfort, a feather-light frame, and traction grip to keep them in place.


Separate Sleeves

upf products arm sleeves

If you spend most of your summer on your bike, it's time to invest in special UPF-protection for your forearms. Just think about it—when you lean forward to grip your handlebars, your forearms are more exposed to the sun's rays than practically anything else on your body.

If you don't want to always wear long sleeves, or if you get tired of applying and re-applying sunscreen to your arms, simply stash a pair of sleeves in your bag and pull them out before you hit the road. Buff sells sets of arm sleeves that reach from your wrist to your upper arm and offer UPF 50 resistance and breathable, moisture-wicking fabric. Plus, you can get sleeves that match their hats and headbands for a cohesive head-to-forearm look...if you're into that.


Sun-Protective Lip Balm

spf products lip balm
All Good/Coola/Jack Black

Believe it or not, it's not uncommon to get non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) on your lips. And while there are numerous risk factors, such as smoking and compromised immunity, that contribute to these cancers, sun exposure may contribute as well.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, cumulative UV exposure is by far the biggest risk factor, accounting for 90-percent of all NMSCs. Since your lips are always exposed, you need to keep your lips protected.

There are lots of lip balms out there with an SPF formula, including All Good Lips with SPF 20, Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm with SPF 25, and COOLA Liplux with SPF 30. Just remember, keep a tube with you at all times. Just like sunscreen, you need to reapply every few hours to maintain SPF protection.



UPF protective swimwear

Of course, it's completely natural to want to strip down to a sleek bikini when stand-up paddleboarding or knocking out a few laps, so by all means, wear whatever feels best (as long as you're slathering on the sunscreen). But keep your eye peeled for the latest, greatest, sun-protective swimwear hitting the market.

Mott50 is doing a great job of providing truly attractive swimwear, including long-sleeved one-piece bathing suits perfect for board sports, or the equivalent two-piece option featuring a long-sleeve zip-front swim top and bikini bottoms.

Or as an alternative, check out their swim dress. You can wear it as a swim cover-up after getting out of the water, or you can use the side ties to ruche the sides to wear it as a swim shirt with their bikini bottoms. And if you're dead set on showing off your hard-won abs, check out the swim crop top. The long sleeves keep your shoulders, arms, and upper back protected, cutting down on how much sunscreen you have to keep applying.


Cute Performance Skirts and Dresses

UPF protective sports skirts and dresses
Tasc Performance/Patagonia/Mott50

Dresses aren't just for Sunday church services anymore. From running and cycling skirts to casual hiking dresses, women can do just about anything while wearing a skirt. Tasc, Patagonia, and Mott50 each provide active options with UPF50+ protection. You can go short and flouncy with Tasc's Rhythm Skirt when out on a run (it has built-in shorts for functionality), or try the longer, sleeker Wie skirt from Mott50, appropriately named after golfer Michelle Wie. It also provides built-in shorts, making it perfect for your next golf or tennis match.

And for more leisurely hikes, or when you need something functional to help you master an active commute, Patagonia's t-shirt style Glorya dress is pretty much perfect, featuring lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric, and a cut that goes as well with sneakers as it does with a pair of low-slung sandals.


Coverups and Wraps

UPF products cover-ups

Last, but certainly not least, are the products that take you from one place to another in sun-protected style—the post-swim cover-ups, the post-workout wraps, and the accessories you can drape over your head and shoulders when the sun is blazing. Mott50, once again, pretty much steals the show.

The Adele kaftan is perfect for casual mornings on the porch or as an after-swim cover-up. The Nancy hooded cover-up can be thrown on over a tank top and pair of leggings after a tough outdoor workout. And the Lani infinity scarf is pretty much the perfect accessory for any post-workout excursion. You can wear it as a scarf, a hood, a wrap, or you can even zip it up to function as a make-shift top. Whatever skin it's covering benefits from the UPF 50+ protection.

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5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Is Sunscreen Safe?. Updated February 21, 2019.

  2. Skin Cancer Foundation. Sun-Protective Clothing. Updated June 2019.

  3. Lachiewicz AM, Berwick M, Wiggins CL, Thomas NE. Survival differences between patients with scalp or neck melanoma and those with melanoma of other sites in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) programArch Dermatol. 2008;144(4). doi:10.1001/archderm.144.4.515

  4. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Lip Cancer.

  5. Skin Cancer Foundation. Ask the Expert: What Will Help Me Feel Less Nervous About My Lip Cancer?. Published April 21, 2020.