sunscreen
Make sure your skin is protected at all times, when out jogging or engaged in sports, with a generous slathering of our expert-picked sunscreens. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Cerulean blue skies and a pleasant breeze seem to dominate this winter season - every day is a perfect day for a sprint! But how often do you layer on some sunscreen before you head out? It's something that stays forgotten on the dresser, since some people find it too harsh for their sensitive skin, while others have an overall aversion to slathering on greasy creams.

Still, applying sunscreen is a vital step in your skincare routine that shouldn't be missed. Our skin expert, Dr Aashim Singh Kukreja, a specialist dermatologist with Medcare Medical Centre in Dubai, recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours, if you are directly exposed to the sun. She also says spray form factors are far better suited for long hours spent outdoors, since reapplying only takes a few seconds.

"If the skin is exposed to the sun when exercising, then you could use a spray-based sunscreen for faster reapplication. For the face, go for a waterproof or sweatproof formula," she said.

But with options from SPF (sun protection factor) 15 to 50+, which sunscreen best suits your skin type? According to Dr Kukreja, lighter skin tones need a minimum factor of 50, while darker skin tones can settle for SPF 30. "Also, look for the Boots Star rating on your suncreen - the higher the number, the more protection it offers in the UVA spectrum. These ultraviolet rays can cause early ageing, freckles, fine lines and such," added Dr Kukreja.

While most formulations are water-resistant to an extent, you might want to consider whether chemical or mineral sunscreen works better for you. The dreaded white cast is usually the result of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in mineral sunscreens, but they're gentler on sensitive skin, says Dr Kukreja. If you have acne or oily skin, chemical sunscreens could be a better option, since they absorb into the skin.

So, when you're exercising outdoors, make sure all exposed parts of your body are covered with sunscreen. Dr Kukreja says if your workout outfit covers your arms and legs, then these body parts don't need any application. What of the face? Our skin expert put us onto some fantastic options for different skin types. She also suggests wearing a hat to protect the hair against sun damage.

Check out our top picks below and order yours with Amazon Prime, for free, fast delivery.

1. Best Overall: Heliocare 360 Invisible Spray

Water-resistant, check. Sand-resistant, check. Protection against ultraviolet rays UVA and UVB, check. What really seals the deal, though, is Heliocare 360's transparent formula. Recommended by Dr Kukreja, the Heliocare sunscreen should be your go-to when the outdoors call for cycling, running, walking and playing sport. It's perfect for people who find reapplication tedious, because of its spray form factor. It has an SPF of 50+. We all fear the ghastly white cast left behind by sunscreens, but the Heliocare 360 Invisible Spray gets absorbed by the skin in seconds. Reviewers attest to the fact that there's none of that sticky, waxy feeling you usually find when applying sunscreens. It's truly invisible. Do note that the Heliocare sunscreen is not meant for the face, since it can irritate the eyes. Just shake before use and apply generously - it'll even manage to stick on after a swim. Reviewers' only gripe is that the can runs out much faster than cream formulas, but it's absolutely worth it.

2. Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Eucerin Sun Oil Control Gel-Cream SPF50+, 50ml

Best for acne-prone skin types, the Eucerin Sun Oil Control gel cream has a lightweight texture and works well under makeup. Even with an SPF of 50+, the facial sunscreen is non-comedogenic, so it doesn't clog pores. Like the Heliocare 360 Invisible Spray, this gel-cream provides broad spectral protection against UVA and UVB rays, along with visible light. The lipid-absorbing micro-pigments make sure there's no oily residue after application. "Use the length of two fingers to measure the amount for the face, one finger for the neck, and don't forget the earlobes, where the sun hits directly," advised Dr Kukreja. Reviewers love the mattifying effect this sunscreen has.

3. Best for Face and Body: Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion, 18oz, SPF 50 PA++++

The Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion is an all-rounder family pack, worth considering. The broad spectrum sunscreen for both face and body has an SPF of 50, with soothing ingredients, like sunflower extract and rosemary leaf. Perfect for the entire group, you can pass this 532ml bottle around and everyone can pump out a generous amount for themselves, even kids. It's sweat- and water-resistant, leaving behind no white cast, and there's a bit of a light scent to it. The lotion is rated PA++++, which means it offers extremely high UVA protection. Those with darker skin tones approve of Supergoop! when out playing sport. Some reviewers with sensitive, acne-prone skin do suggest keeping the application to the body.

4. Best Chemical Sunscreen: ISDIN Fotoprotector Wet Skin Transparent Spray SPF50 PA++, 250ml

Another SPF spray for the body is the Isdin Fotoprotector Wet Skin Transparent Spray. Effective even on wet skin, the sunscreen has natural ginger extract that's rich in antioxidants, to stimulate the skin's natural sun defense. However, unlike other sun protectors in the list, this formula must be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure. "Chemical sunscreens have to be activated before stepping out," said Dr Kukreja, adding that these types don't leave a white cast, either. Reviewers have sprayed the sunscreen on for outdoor activities, like cycling and picnicking by the beach, and note that it doesn't stain clothes.

5. Best for Dry Skin: Avene SPF 50 Plus Sun Care Cream, 50 ml

Formulated for dry, sensitive skin, the Avene SPF50+ cream rubs into the face with an invisible finish. Along with sun filters against UVA and UVB rays, it contains the antioxidant provitamin E for defense against free radicals. Plus, you also get to enjoy the soothing, anti-irritant properties of Avene's signature thermal spring water. Reviews note some white cast, but others say it needs to be worked into the skin thoroughly to solve the problem.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.