Do they make linen balaclavas?
May 1, 2015 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Please suggest to me a sunscreen for backyard/gardening/exercise use that I will not instantly get in my eyes?

I need a sunscreen that can stand up to my disgusting sweat-dripping face when I exercise or do lawn care tasks or sit on my patio for a few minutes during the day.

It doesn't have to cooperate with makeup or being seen by any human being except the one who's legally obligated to put up with me. I don't care if it's that weird ghostly white, or purple with green chunks, or whatever. I'm going to remove it with makeup wipes the minute I come inside. I want the highest (actually meaningful) SPF, and I want it to not run into my eyes or transfer instantly into my eyes the first time I even dab at the sweat on my face.

I have only moderately sensitive skin as far as allergies, though I do have rosacea, but that's part of the reason I want something heavy-duty for relatively short periods of exposure.
posted by Lyn Never to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Blue Lizard is supposed to be really good. And if you go to the Bloggess's site and get her code you'll get a bit off your order.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:56 AM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

If only squirrels are going to see you, I'd go for a super tacky zinc sunscreen and a hat (jinx, Medieval Maven). Green Beaver has a few that are ok. You'll still have to reapply, but it won't sting when you sweat, unlike any chemical sunscreen I've ever used. (To note, though: mineral sunscreens work because they form a physical barrier, which can feel occlusive in the heat.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:59 AM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've given up on American sunscreens; they irritate my skin and they don't protect as well against UVB. If you're willing to order via Ebay or European websites, I highly recommend:

- for your face: the French version of La Roche Posay Ultra Fluide -- this is sweat and water resistant, it does not aggravate my very sensitive skin, and it has the good stuff (UVB blockers) that the American version omits due to the FDA dragging its feet on approval;

- for your body: Bioderma Photoderm MAX Spray SPF 50+.

Now, for non-athletic endeavors, Japanese sunscreen is absolutely wonderful. But when I know I'll be sweating, the above two are my favorites. Neither sting my eyes, either (yep, I've used the spray on my face when I ran out of the Roche Posay!).
posted by artemisia at 11:00 AM on May 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

As a fellow face-sweater, everything honestly seems to suck except for this one green tea sunscreen I bought in Greece on my honeymoon but is long gone.
All of the brands I have tried (Neutrogena, No-Ad, Coppertone, Aveeno, California Baby, Clinique) seem to run and sting my eyes with enough sweat. The sport formulations are a little thicker but still do melt.

The zinc and titanium dioxide formulas (branded as mineral sunscreen) work the best for actually blocking sun, and they do leave white residue so its good that you don't care about that.

I think a gigantic hat might be your best bet if it is just for gardening at home.
posted by rmless at 11:21 AM on May 1, 2015

How about a hat?
posted by defreckled at 11:30 AM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Noting your title: Wintersilks makes silk balaclavas.
posted by brujita at 11:43 AM on May 1, 2015

I've been converted to hats. More effective than sunscreen, cheaper, and faster to put on and take off.
posted by metasarah at 12:14 PM on May 1, 2015

Speaking as a pale person, hats are not as effective as sunscreen. They're okay for the light that's coming from above, but reflected UV radiation is also a problem.
posted by Lexica at 12:25 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I love my giant hats but I have a white stucco house, a bunch of cement, light colored brickwork, and a pool. And this is Southern California, the sunshine goes to 11. My neck and downward-facing facial planes get a lot of sun.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:41 PM on May 1, 2015

You need a bigger hat. :-)

Silk balaclavas aren't as effective of a UV block, because they are thin cloth. I suggest any of the other suggestions offered.

Many of the Asian ancestry folks in my area wear hat/scarf combinations such as this.
posted by blob at 1:04 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Two things I've found that help a lot with the eye stinging are: 1) use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sunscreens rather than avobenzone ones; and 2) you won't believe this, but I promise you it works for me: make really really sure to keep the sunscreen out of your eyebrows. Sure, it's probably better, all things being equal, if you can get it into your eyebrows too, but if I do, it's misery for me for the rest of the day. I just make sure to wipe my eyebrows off with a single finger after I'm done applying the sunscreen to my face, and that really helps the eye stinging.

Other than that nthing the Blue Lizard suggestion. I've found it a bit tricky to find in stores, but maybe you'll have better luck in your area.
posted by holborne at 1:10 PM on May 1, 2015

Oh, and yeah, hats are essential to protect the top of your head, so of course people should wear them too, but they don't protect from reflected light.
posted by holborne at 1:13 PM on May 1, 2015

Maybe something like this?
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:17 PM on May 1, 2015

I use Neutrogena Sport Face in SPF 70. It works, and it stays put even through multi-hour training runs and races (I live in the desert; even when it's not a thousand degrees outside, we have All The Sunshines).
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 2:42 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm partial to the Badger mineral (e.g. thick, pasty zinc oxide-based) varieties. This is my always. It's SPF 35, which is fine for you--higher SPFs give diminishing returns, and it sounds like you're only going to be using this for relatively short periods anyway. I started using this when I moved to LA and it was a godsend for a sweaty man.

Zinc oxide is an excellent broad spectrum UV blocker, and there are no health and safety concerns about it (of the variety that some of the other commenters have noted of products that are approved for marketing outside-but-not-inside the US). It's inactive ingredients are few (sunflower oil, vitamin E oil from sunflower oil, beeswax, jojoba oil) but incredibly sweat-resistant and easy to remove with a wipe at the end of the day. Summary of this paragraph: if you manage to get some in your eyes, it doesn't sting--hooray!
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:26 PM on May 1, 2015

I'm using Kiss My Face Kids Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. Works better/longer for me than Blue Lizard (I seem to burn quicker using Blue Lizard), and does not irritate my sensitive skin like a lot of sunscreens do. I'm a sweater and this one does not bother my eyes.
posted by gudrun at 6:32 PM on May 1, 2015

I'm in australia, so can't suggest brands, but I've found that toddler sunscreen is pretty good. Also zinc cream.
posted by kjs4 at 12:01 AM on May 2, 2015

I saw a woman jogging in one of these. I'm very tempted as I haven't found a way to protect my ultra-sensitive skin (hat) and my skull (helmet) when biking. It does look kind of insane, though, so it might be better suited to you and the squirrels.
posted by Frenchy67 at 12:12 PM on May 2, 2015

I second Artemisia's recommendation of La Roche Posay. My favorite is the Antehlios XL with Mexoryl, which I order off of Amazon.

If you'd like something you can just grab from the drugstore, I'd get Banana Boat baby sunscreen. It's easy to find, it has a high SPF, and it's gentle. It leaves a bit of a white cast, but it sounds like that won't matter here.
posted by balacat at 10:02 AM on May 3, 2015

I will add a suggestion for a tennis headband in addition to your hat. It will catprue all your sweat dripping into your eyes. They are truly a functional piece of clothing and sweaty dudes in my family require them for physical activity.
posted by Gor-ella at 7:49 AM on May 4, 2015

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