Summer Skincare for Runners

Summer Skincare for Runners

Hi everyone! Today, my good friend Meredith of The Cookie ChRUNicles is guest posting about skincare for runners. Running regularly exposes your skin to the sun for long durations. While you should use it year-round, sunscreen is key to surviving summer running. This is not only an issue of aestethics; prolonged unprotected sun exposure increases your risk of skaestheticsand other health issues. Even in Seattle, you better believe I swear SPF on my face for runs! I’ll let Meredith take it from here:

Summer Skincare for Runners

Laura so kindly asked me to pop in with a guest post on the topic of skincare for runners. She knows me SO WELL. While I’m a total makeup and skincare product junkie, I’m also a strong advocate for taking care of our skin, especially as runners.

It pains me to see so many runners who are clearly running every single day without making their skincare a priority. Not only is it imperative to remove makeup before running, it’s crucial to apply a quality sunscreen on your face (and exposed skin) when running outdoors, especially in the summer. It’s equally as critical to take note of your elements and dress the part. As much as we want to shed layers during the summer months, our skin shouldn’t be overexposed to the sun in an effort to minimize skin cancer risks and sun damage, while also limiting the signs of aging.

Running outdoors for prolonged periods of time in the summer really isn’t the best for the skin, even with sunscreen.

So what can we do to protect our skin and keep it healthy, youthful, and radiant? Well, there are a few key things we can do! Let’s discuss.

Run Early Or Later In The Day. 

While you do need sunscreen once the sun is up and even after 4:00 PM, running when the sun is not as strong will lessen your sun exposure.

Choose Short Sleeves Instead of Tank Tops. 

Warm temperatures and bright sunshine usually have us reaching for our tank tops and for some, choosing to run in just a sports bra. Honestly, this isn’t the best idea if you are trying to protect your skin from sun exposure. If you are running on the treadmill, great. If you are running outdoors during the months when the sun is at its strongest and brightest, I recommend a short-sleeved running top instead. Even with a coating of sunscreen on your arms, shoulders, neck, middle, and back, covering those areas is a smarter move.

It’s not that I don’t run in tank tops as I certainly do, but I usually save those for treadmill workouts and early morning runs that are short in duration. If I know I will outside for more than 30 minutes, short sleeves it is!

(Laura’s note: All clothing has a baseline of UPF and many running clothes are designed to contain higher levels of UPF for extra protection.)


Anytime you are outdoors and the sun is shining, you should have sunglasses on to protect your eyes. A good pair of sunglasses for running is a great idea too. I honestly do not wear sunglasses while running as I normally run early enough that the sun is first starting to come up but make no mistake, shades are absolutely on my face the rest of the day!

According to this article from Competitor Running, “eyes are most susceptible to UV ray exposure from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., both peak times for runners to be out on the roads and trails. This exposure comes from the angle of the sun and how the UV rays reflect off of surfaces. The Vision Council reports that sand and asphalt can reflect up to 25 percent of the UV rays.”

In addition to protecting your actual eyes from the sun, sunglasses will also sun exposure to the delicate skin around your eyes as well as protect your eyes from squinting which can cause the fine lines and wrinkles.

Wear a Sunvisor.

I don’t know how I used to run without a sun visor in the summer! A sun visor will limit the sun exposure to your face which not only assists you in staying cooler but also limits direct rays from the sun on your face. A sun visor may also allow your eyes to relax (especially if you aren’t wearing sunglasses) which will keep your eyes from squinting to see as you run. Squinting can cause those fine lines and wrinkles (crow’s feet!) around the eye area. We don’t want that!

Laura’s note: A visored hat is one of my must-have pieces of gear

Eat Your Antioxidants.

You absolutely can eat your way to healthier skin! Focusing on a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods (think fruits and vegetables —  especially an abundance of berries) will provide you with a powerful dose of antioxidants known to fight the free radical damage we experience to our skin. They claim that a diet filled with berries (especially blueberries and açaí berries!) can act as an internal SPF for your skin! Even though you still need to apply sunscreen, the berries in your diet (powered mostly by anthocyanidins)can work to reduce oxidative stress to our skin, slow signs of aging, limiting the damage from sun exposure and environmental free radicals.


After my extensive list of how to limit your sun exposure, of course we still need sunscreen! All sunscreens ARE NOT created equal though. Unfortunately, it’s critical to pay attention to the ingredients before applying just any sunscreen product to your skin.

I did my research a few years ago within the EWG Database and continue to review the sunscreen product recommendations while also giving myself an and an internal pep talk to calm down and not overthink it. I’ve learned which products I like best and stick with them!

SkinCeuticals is my go-to sunscreen brand. 

SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV DefenseA tinted sunscreen fluid with 100% mineral filters provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, while promoting natural radiance and a more even skin tone

SkinCeuticals Sport UV Defense SPF 50: Marathon-runner tested and suitable for rigorous sport activities, this oxybenzone-free broad spectrum sunscreen provides photostable UVA/UVB protection and is proven to feel comfortable on skin. Enhanced with artemia salina, a plankton extract, this sunscreen increases skin’s resistance to UV and heat stress* and protects collagen from UV damage.*

SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50: Delivering a new standard in eye care, this ophthalmologist-tested sunscreen defends, enhances, and optimizes the entire eye area, including the eye lid. Formulated specifically for the unique structure of the thinner and more sensitive skin around the eye, Physical Eye UV Defense provides broad spectrum SPF 50 protection without migrating into and irritating the eyes.

Additional mineral sunscreens which can be found at drugstores like Target:

Babyganics– Always in my beach bag! I like this sunscreen not only for my son but for myself too. While I don’t apply it to my face, I use it for my body.

Aveeno Baby Natural has been re-formulated. Be cautious though – not all Aveeno products are okay! It can be very misleading.

Laura’s note: To make wearing sunscreen a habit, I keep one bottle in my bathroom for runs straight from home and another in my car for when I drive to a trailhead. 

[Tweet “Yes, #runners need sunscreen! Check out these summer #skincare for runners tips from @cookiechRUNicle via @thisrunrecipes #running #runchat”]

Do you wear sunscreen on your runs?
How do you take care of your skin?

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6 Responses

  1. Great info! It’s definitely that time of year to start being more careful about skin exposure to the sun. All winter I was running in the dark or with 10 layers on, but now on the weekends the sun is out when I am running. I need to restock my sunscreen supply!

  2. Great info! I’m pretty good about sunscreen on my runs although I usually don’t put any on for sunrise runs. The sun is barely up by the time I’m done. Thanks for sunscreen suggestions too!

  3. I was just reminded this weekend when I got burnt at a neighborhood yard sale that I need to be putting sunscreen on all the time! I tend to skip it on early am runs but I have very fair skin and skin cancer runs in my family, so no reason at all to skip. Thanks for this!

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