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.
Commercial sunscreens have gotten a bit of a bad reputation due to their use of supposedly toxic ingredients, such as oxybenzone. While the American Academy of Dermatology reports that the chemicals found in sunscreens are safe and FDA-approved, you can always hedge your bets by seeking 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.
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. And guess what? 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.
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 Jubilee Racer 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.
It's easy to assume the hair on your head offers enough protection from the sun, but 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.
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.