Disclaimer: I received a bottle of Sawyer SPF 30 Stay Put Sunscreen Lotion to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!
I’ve never liked wearing sunscreen while running — even though I realize it’s important to stay protected from the sun.
I don’t remember what brand it was, but I recall a run a while ago where I just felt like the sunscreen was blocking my pores and it was making me even more hot. So, I thought it would be fun to try out a brand I hadn’t heard of before — Sawyer’s SPF 30 Stay Put Sunscreen Lotion.
I’ve pretty much used up the whole bottle. I’m sure I could wear sunscreen every day, but I haven’t been doing that, as I usually run in the evening and I never get burnt during those runs (there’s also shade at the Salisbury City Park). I used this on two long runs, my race yesterday and regularly during my trip to Florida, where I was outside a ton at the beach and pool.
I don’t love the feeling of thick and gloppy sunscreen — really, who does? I thought this sunscreen went on well and didn’t stay white for too long. I liked its consistency.
I’m not that knowledgeable about the science of sunscreen, but the Sawyer website says that its Breathable Matrix Formula “spreads into all layers of your skin, uniquely penetrating where other sunblocks simply can’t go.”
Although the website says it provides all-day protection, the back of the bottle does recommend reapplying it at least every two hours (after watching a video on the Sawyer website, it sounds like this is just required language). However, I’m sure I went more than two hours before reapplying it, and the only place I ended up with a bad burn was a spot I couldn’t reach on my back — which shows that the sunscreen did work.
Yesterday I thought I looked a little pink, but I applied the sunscreen before my race began at 6:30 a.m., after a short warm-up run (so my skin wouldn’t have been fully dry), and I didn’t get back to my hotel room until probably four hours later or so.
After I posted a picture with my sunscreen bottle on social media, a friend did let me know it has two ingredients banned in Hawaii — oxybenzone and octinoxate. Articles like this one state that those ingredients are bad for coral reefs. Be careful if you Google the ingredients, though, because high on the list were “articles” from brands selling their mineral sunscreens.
I never really paid much attention to the ingredients, but I think I’ve been using chemical-based sunscreens my whole life. Well-known brands of sunscreens do use chemicals, and mineral sunscreens are more expensive.
Mineral sunscreens also might not be as high-quality, a Consumer Reports article states. Here’s a direct passage from the article:
And unfortunately, in the past six years of sunscreen testing, none of the mineral products we’ve tested offer both top-notch UVA and UVB protection and meet their labeled SPF, says Susan Booth, the project leader for our sunscreen testing.
Luckily, I don’t live near coral reefs, and if you’re running with sunscreen, you’re likely taking a shower afterward but not getting directly into the ocean, so I’d think it wouldn’t be as direct of an effect.
The Sawyer sunscreen also does not include another chemical, avobenzone. You can learn more about how Sawyer works and why the brand doesn’t include avobenzone in a video on the Sawyer website.
During my long run in Florida with the sunscreen, I did notice sweat kind of bubbling up on my arms. It was extremely hot and humid that day, but as far as I know, the sunscreen was not making my run tough — it was just the heat and humidity. I also wore it for my half marathon yesterday, and although I didn’t have the run I wanted, I did not notice the sunscreen causing any problems.
I also didn’t have any problems with the Sawyer sunscreen running into my eyes.
I did notice that while wearing the Shady Rays Allure sunglasses I recently tested with the sunscreen, the inside area of the sunglasses by my nose was affected — it looks like that inside part has peeled/cracked. However, this isn’t visible from the outside — just something to note, and I didn’t contact Shady Rays or Sawyer about it. I’m not sure what exactly happened.
It is important to stay protected from the sun, and it’s probably something runners don’t think about enough. I know testing this sunscreen for BibRave has made me think about it more — and since my bottle is just about out in about a month, I clearly used it a good amount!
An eight-ounce bottle of the Sawyer Stay Put Sunscreen Lotion is $15.60 (and if you have an Amazon Prime credit card like I do, the website says you can get 15 percent back).
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