In Australia, we’re known for our love of the outdoors and sports of all varieties. No matter what activities get you out and about, it’s important to protect your skin from harmful sun exposure. But when we play hard, we need a sunscreen that works just as hard. Here, we’ll discuss why a sport sunscreen is a great addition to your sun protection routine.

Are all sunscreens made equal?

When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, you risk getting sunburnt or causing less visible damage to the cells in the deeper layers of your skin. This damage can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, which is why it’s so important to protect your skin from the sun.

Applying sunscreen to your skin is one of the key sun protection measures that you can take when you are outdoors getting active. But what features should you look for to ensure your sunscreen is effective for those sweaty sporting endeavours or energetic water activities?

First of all, you want to choose a sport sunscreen that offers effective UV protection. This means both a high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, which blocks 97% of UVB radiation when applied correctly, and broad spectrum coverage to protect against both UVB and UVA radiation. In Australia, sunscreens are required to provide broad spectrum protection and SPF 50+ is the highest SPF rating that any sunscreen can carry.

The second important feature your sport sunscreen should have is water resistance. This means that the product maintains its specified SPF rating after being immersed in water for a certain amount of time. In Australia, sunscreens labelled as 4-hours water resistant must achieve a SPF rating of over 30 after being immersed in water for 4 hours.

Sunscreens for outdoor sports

For many people who take part in outdoor sports, wearing sunscreen is extra important because their ability to use other sun protection measures may be limited. For example, team sports often take place on open fields where there is no shade available with games or matches scheduled at times during the middle of the day when UV levels are high. Team uniforms or sport-specific safety requirements may also limit what type of sun protective clothing, hats, or sunglasses can be worn during a particular activity.

So when you or your children are playing sport or exercising outdoors, reach for a water resistant sport sunscreen with the highest SPF 50+ broad spectrum coverage to protect your skin. Importantly, effective protection from your sunscreen is dependent on using it correctly – this means applying generous amounts of sunscreen regularly. To achieve full body coverage, an adult should apply 30 mL to 40 mL of sunscreen – about a cupped hand worth of sunscreen. Breaking it down, you should apply about 5 mL (1 teaspoon) of sunscreen to each part of your body: face, neck, arms, legs, front, and back. Remember to reapply your sunscreen at least every 2 hours, but you should reapply sooner if you are sweating heavily or have towelled off after exercising.

Sunscreen for water sports

Wearing an effective water resistant sport sunscreen during swimming and other water sports is just as important – even if you aren’t getting as hot and sweaty as you would be on dry land. Why? Because UV radiation can still damage your skin when it’s underwater and can reflect off surrounding surfaces such as sand and concrete – it can even reflect off snow!

Water resistant sunscreens are specially formulated to stay on your wet skin longer than a regular sunscreen and stay effective while you are in the water. However, sunscreen will not stay on your skin forever and will inevitably get washed off after you’ve been in the water or sweating for a while. So always remember to reapply your sunscreen to dry skin at least every 2 hours or immediately after getting out of the water.

If your favourite water sports take you to the beach or out into the open ocean, you might also want to consider choosing a mineral sunscreen that is reef-friendly and avoiding products that contain certain chemical UV filters that have been associated with coral reef bleaching.

Want great skin protection for all your outdoor sports and water activities? Look no further than INVISIBLE ZINC Sport Mineral Sunscreen. This non-greasy, low irritant formulation uses micronised zinc oxide to provide the highest SPF 50+ broad spectrum UVA plus UVB coverage and offers 4 hours of water resistance.

Frequently asked questions about sport sunscreen


Sport sunscreen typically offers high SPF broad spectrum protection in a water resistant formulation to help protect exposed skin even when it’s wet or sweaty.


Whether it’s outdoor sports or water-based activities, choosing a very high SPF 50+ broad spectrum water resistant sport sunscreen can offer your skin the best protection when applied correctly.


Sport sunscreen can be used on your face! But, because the skin on your face can sometimes be more sensitive than the skin on your body, consider choosing a low irritant mineral sport sunscreen.