Five Top Sport Sunscreens

Any dermatologist will tell you: Wear sunscreen every day, even if you're just hanging around town. But picking the right one is where it gets complicated. According to a 2009 study by the Environmental Working Group, nearly 30 percent of sunscreens don't have strong enough protection from UVA, the sun's most prevalent, carcinogenic rays. Then there


   Photo: Patrik Giardino/Corbis Online

The Right Stuff

What to look for on your sunscreen's ingredient list
To get true "broad spectrum" protection (for both UVB and UVA rays), you need a physical blocker, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or a chemical blocker, like avobenzone/parsol 1789 or Mexoryl. If your sunscreen doesn't have one of those, dump it. Also, avoid anything with an SPF over 50. High-SPF products cram in a higher concentration of chemicals than you need and have been linked to tissue damage and hormone disruption.

Soléo Organics All-Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+
Up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers annually, leaving paraben-and-cinnamate-filled slicks that pose a threat to 10 percent of the world's coral reefs. Soléo's formula is biodegradable and reef-friendly—using organic ingredients like grapeseed oil and beeswax along with zinc oxide to reflect UVA rays—plus it's water-resistant up to three hours. $22;

Urban Adventurers
Neutrogena Men Oil-Free Moisture SPF 30
Neutrogena's latest formulation is two creams in one: an oil-free moisturizer to keep your skin smooth and hydrated, plus avobenzone, which meets the highest European standards for UVA protection. It's good for everyday use: The lightly fragranced cream doesn't leave a greasy sheen behind, so you won't look like you need a shower. $6;

Endurance Junkies

Scape SPF 50+ Athlete Sunblock
Some sunscreens make it harder for your skin to sweat. Scape is not only extremely water-resistant, so it won't run in your eyes or wimp out after a swim leg; it also has a porous structure, allowing your skin to perspire freely. And it will probably last longer than you can: During in-race testing on Ironman triathletes in Kona, Hawaii, it proved effective for eight hours. From $14;

Kinesys SPF 30 Fragrance-Free Sunscreen Spray
Lotions can make your hands slippery, but Kinesys—which comes in a nonaerosol spray bottle—uses a silicone-based formula that gives maximum coverage and UVA blocking (with avobenzone) without needing to be rubbed in. Unlike most sprays, though, the super-fine mist is both oil- and alcohol-free, so it won't cause acne or dry skin. $7;

Dermatone Skin Protector with Z-Cote
Skin creams can't prevent frostbite; in fact, they can promote it, since water is often a main ingredient. Dermatone's SPF 30 skin protector is petroleum-based—meaning it can't freeze or absorb into the skin—and it acts as a shield against windburn, chapping, and cracking. The transparent zinc oxide blocks high-altitude UVA rays. $6;

Filed To: Water Activities, Climbing, Mountaineering, Triathlons, Skin, Health and Beauty

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