How to apply sun block

Protection against UV rays is important for all outdoor exercisers. Here are some must-knows


by Trail Running |

Given that as runners we spend so much time outdoors, it's important for us to be aware of the dangers of UV rays from the sun.

While we probably wouldn't sit on the beach in the sun without sun cream, we are more likely to neglect applying it when out for a run. Further, it's easy to wrongly conclude that you can't cause damage to your skin if you're not visibly burning due to your skin already being brown.

Randall Cooper, physiotherapist and CEO of performance skincare company Premax, outlines tips on applying sun block:

1. Apply more sunscreen than you think you should

Many people don’t apply enough sunscreen, and as a result can sustain sunburn and long-term skin damage. Apply at least 5ml for the face (a full teaspoon) and at least 35ml for the entire body.

2. Apply early and rub it in well

Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before you step outside, and it’s important to ensure you rub it in well to avoid the cream sitting on top of the skin and running off when you start to sweat.

3. Reapply every 2-4 hours

Many sunscreens will advise reapplying every 4 hours – and that’s fine if you’re in the back garden with a book, however if you’re exercising in the heat and sweating it should be every 2 hours.

4. What you do, and how much you sweat matters

The more you sweat, the more your sunscreen will run off your skin and become less effective. Heat, humidity, wind and direct sun exposure will affect how much you sweat as well as how hard you’re exercising, so if you know you’re going to be sweating heavily, plan ahead and keep some sunscreen handy for reapplication

5. Use a sports-specific, SPF50+ sunscreen for maximum protection

Not all sunscreens are the same. Mineral based sunscreens aren’t well suited for exercise as they’re general heavy and can impair sweat production. Consider a lightweight, non-greasy option like the sports-specific Premax Sunscreen for Sport SPF50+ which is formulated just for sport

6. Consider reflective surfaces

The sun’s damaging rays can reflect off surfaces such as snow and roads, and cause sunburn and skin damage in the most unlikely of places – such as on the bottom of the nose and under the chin! Make sure you apply sunscreen everywhere you can get exposed!

7. Wind may play a part in skin damage

Strong wind may actually increase the risk of UV exposure. The wind sloughs off superficial skin cells, leaving newer skin underneath to battle the elements. As much as possible keep out of the wind on high UV days, or consider doubling up your sunscreen with a sports specific barrier cream such as the Premax Weather Defence Facial Cream.

8. Get a fake tan, not a real one

Tanned skin may look great, however there’s no such thing as a healthy tan. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun (or a solarium) increases the risk of skin cancer and ages your skin. If you want a nice tan, get it sprayed on or from a bottle.

9. Check the expiry date

The older the sunscreen, the less effective it is. Check the expiry carefully – it can be hidden in the crimp of a tube or on the bottom of a bottle. If it’s past is used by date, throw it in the bin and get yourself a fresh product.

10. It’s not all about sunscreen

Sunscreen works, however other strategies can also help limit your UV exposure. If exercising outdoors on high UV days, choose the early morning or late afternoon and where possible choose shady areas to do your session. Caps and visors are also a must and apparel that has UV protection can also be of benefit.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us