8 Best Face Sunscreens to Beat the Elements

We all know how important it is to protect your skin from the sun—no need to lecture. But for those of us who love to play hard outside, not any old run-of-the-mill lotion will do.

We sweat, we swim, we have become intimate with the earth's harsh elements, which can do a number on our skin--and our sunscreen applications. Of course, clothing and hats provide the best protection of all but we tend to expose our faces the most, so that's the most important part of us to proctect.

For those unaware, the FDA recently making changes to the requirements of sunscreen labels, banning the unrealistic words "waterproof" and "sweatproof" (sunscreens can only label themselves "water resistant"), restricting SPF levels to lie only between 15 and 50 and requiring that a brand must block UVA and UVB equally in order to call itself "broad spectrum," choosing the right sunscreen can get confusing.

Here are some athlete-friendly sunscreen picks, in no particular order. Whether you frequent the mountains, the oceans, the rivers or just plain love to work up a good sweat under that bright blue sky, these recommendations are for you.

Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation and Sun Protection Stick Foundation

SPF: 35 and 42
Drip Factor: Very low, especially in the stick.

About a decade or so back, a few smart surfers (both men and women) discovered the beauty of wearing water resistant foundation—yes, makeup—to protect their faces from the sun. Obviously, no matter how effective the sunscreen, it's always important to reapply. Shiseido is very popular among the ocean crew, paddlers and surfers especially, and at about $35 per stick, you can find it in department stores, malls and duty-free at international airports.

Ella Bache Sunguard Foundation

SPF: 30
Drip Factor: Low—it's very thick and feels very water resistant. But even though you feel protected, make sure you reapply every 80 minutes or so; it seems to rub off slightly. Not the best for applying to already wet and sweaty skin, though.

While both genders use Shiseido, this one's mostly for the ladies. And at $46 for one 30 ml tube—in Australian dollars—you'd better believe this high-end product is effective. These 100 percent mineral tinted sunscreens (foundations, actually), with key ingredients of Lanolin and Titanium Dioxide, are available in five natural (and very pretty) shades. For those who care, it does look great on. Order online, or you can find it in Australian department stores.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock

SPF: 30 and 55
Drip Factor: Like its name would suggest, this sunscreen, which goes on clear, feels dry on your skin right away—and its claim to feel "weightless and clean" is all true. It stings eyes, though, so make sure you apply a good half hour before you plan on sweating or getting in the water. But as its name wouldn't suggest, it's not a block; it absorbs into your skin. So reapply, reapply, reapply.

Neutrogena has patented a sunscreen technology called "Helioplex." It may or may not sound like a bunch of jargon, but the product itself definitely works, so long as you reapply. At $9.49 per bottle, it's worth at least a try. This is also a good sunscreen to use as a base, underneath your thicker, tinted sticks or nosecoats. 

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