You’ve heard it before and you’re bound to hear it again, but we have to tell you again: sunscreen is the most effective tool for preventing the three most common types of skin cancers. That is squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Research has shown that all skin tones can get cancer making sunscreen even that much more important for everyone. Sunscreen is the most important skin care product for preventing wrinkles and dark spots. Basically, it saves lives and keeps us looking young.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the best reputation with people calling it boring and unsexy. But according to lifeguards, it’s their go-to must-have. Lifeguards are out there performing CPR on drowning swimmers, keeping kids safe while they go running around on the wet cement, and then all we do is talk about that sexy Baywatch montage. So if you won’t listen to your dermatologist or your mother, then maybe the people who spend all day outdoors in the hottest months of the year will get you to listen up.
Glamour magazine spoke with a couple of lifeguards from Hawaii to New York to share the sunscreen they swear by. Take a look!
Ocean Potion Sport 50 Sunscreen Lotion
Kalena Kai, a Hawaii native works year-round as a lifeguard at Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii, where she spends her days rotating between various outdoor pools and attractions. To protect her skin during her waterpark shifts, beach days, and hula-dancing lessons, she relies on Ocean Potion Sport 50 Sunscreen Lotion. “I grew up in the ocean—water safety comes as a sixth sense. It’s sheer, nongreasy, and reef-safe, which is very important given that Hawaii is the first state in the nation to ban the sale of sunscreens containing the coral-harming chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. Most people who live here already use mineral sunscreens to respect our ocean and our bodies, because the chemicals that kill our reefs are also harmful to humans.”
Australian Gold Spray Gell With Instant Bronzer SPF 30
Stephanie Robbins is a lifeguard at Jones Beach in New York, working on the job eight hours a day, five days a week in the summer. So when it comes to sunscreen, she’s really on top of it. “I wear a hat and sunglasses all day and apply my sunblock every time I sit on the stand, which is every other hour.” Her go-to sunscreen for body? Australian Gold Spray Gel. “It protects your skin while it’s on, but it washes off easily in the shower. I even buy it ahead of vacations and put it in airplane-size spray bottles in case whatever country I’m in doesn’t sell it.”
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra-Light Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
Head instructor at Making Waves Swim School in Windsor, Ontario, Ramlah Khokhar, 20, spends her days outside. She gets exposed to a lot of sun and chlorine, so taking care of her skin is extremely important. “I struggled with acne for four years, and the chlorine actually helped dry out the pimples, but it made my skin super dry.” Ramlah needed a sunscreen that won’t cause breakouts or dehydrate, so La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted formula is her pick. “It’s amazing for sensitive skin, doesn’t sting my eyes, and feels weightless on your skin. And no matter how many times I jump into the pool to rescue a kid, it never comes off.”
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70
30-year-old Alice Henley is an ocean rescue lifeguard in Florida. She is also a competitive runner and athlete who spends much of her time outdoors. She began noticing the effects of sun exposure in her late twenties and changed her skin care routine because of it. “Skin cancer is common in our line of work and definitely a fear I live with because of the damage I did when I was younger. Living in South Florida, you don’t have to try to be tan—going out for 30 minutes will turn you a shade darker. As I’ve aged, I have had to remember that all time in the sun counts; just because you’re not lying out tanning does not mean you aren’t getting a dose of sun while running or biking.” She loves Neutrogena Beach Defense sunscreen because it’s lightweight and doesn’t clog pores or cause blemishes. “Most important, though, I have found it to be the most effective for not getting burned during prolonged exposure.”