A rock climber, 2 alpine skiers, a baseball pitcher, a surfer, and a tennis star walk outside. The skiers are racing in Lycra on a sun-drenched snowy summit. The rock climber is struggling to beat the heat, while placing ropes and equipment in all the right places during a 10-hour climb. The baseball pitcher is focusing his eyes beneath a cap to avoid the sun’s blinding glare. The surfer monitors her choices to protect the coral reefs, and her skin. The tennis star worries about sweat resistance and longevity. What do these professional athletes all have in common? Protection from the sun.
There are a lot of elements (both weather-related and avocational) that affect what form of sun protection people choose. It goes without saying that sunscreen and protective sunwear are necessities, but with an industry crowded with products, how do you find what works? In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness month, we turned to elite-level outdoor athletes for their personal favorites. After all, who knows the sun better than someone who’s lifestyle is based outside? See what they picked here and why.
Who: Maria Sharapova, Professional tennis player
Like any boss babe, Russian beauty and tennis star Maria Sharapova turns to her own brand, Supergoop!, for trusted skin protection. After falling in love with the brand and its products, Sharapova teamed up with founder Holly Thaggard to become co-owner. "As someone who spends a ton of time training in the sun, protecting my skin is a priority. Supergoop! fits perfectly into my daily routine -- it lasts long and feels great on my skin, whether I'm wearing makeup or sweating it out on the court. Beyond loving the product, I'm also inspired by the brand's mission to raise awareness about skin cancer and provide easy solutions for people to prevent it."
Who: Jimmy Chin, Professional mountain climber, adventure filmmaker
Not only has Jimmy Chin climbed the most impressive peaks in the world, he also won an Academy Award this year for filming friend and solo climber Alex Honnold as he historically climbed El Capitan without ropes in the documentary, Free Solo. What does this professional rock climber swear by for sun protection? “In general, the best sun protection is protective sun wear. Otherwise, I use Kiehl’s Super Fluid SPF 50+ when I am in the mountains. If I’m in the ocean or surfing, I use reef and coral-safe zinc oxide.”
Who: Lindsey Vonn, Olympic Gold Medalist Skier
American alpine star Lindsey Vonn has competed in 4 winter Olympics, won four World Cup overall championships (one of only 2 female skiers in the world to do so), and she’s managed to look incredible while skiing 90mph down death-defying slopes. The blonde beauty tells us that she’s taking her unique sun protection and beauty needs into her own hands. “I haven’t found a great sunscreen to be honest. I chose moisturizer with sunscreen and combine it with an SPF foundation like Tom Ford Traceless. I’m currently starting my own beauty line to combat this problem. Everyone’s skin is different but when skiing you have to find something that gives your enough moisture to combat wind and cold, plus it has to have SPF.”
Who: Kenta Maeda Pitcher, LA Dodgers
Maeda tells us that pitchers can’t wear any sunscreen, for fear of it getting into their eyes during an important moment. Instead, he opts for protective sunwear in the form of his LA Dodgers hat. Baseball hats are adequate protective sunwear for someone with ultra-sensitive skin, allergies, or a pitching job, but we always recommend doubling-up with topical sunscreen if you can.
Who: Kassia Meador, Pro-surfer, wetsuit designer
The longboarding beauty and Kassia Surf wetsuit designer prefers to keep things clean. Whether it’s protecting the coral reefs, or her own body, she swears by an eat-it or leave-it test: “My favorite sunscreen is Avasol. I love it because it’s a thick, dark colored paste that stays on all day. It keeps my skin free from the tropical sunburn while I’m out surfing for so many hours. It also has only the best ingredients in it, so it’s not harmful to the reefs or any other wildlife. It’s so clean that you could eat it. Now that I know all the bad stuff that’s out there, my rule of thumb is: if I can’t eat it, I’m not going to put it anywhere on my skin!”
Who: Bode Miller, Olympic Gold Medalist Skier
The legendary 6-time Olympic medalist has competed in 5 Winter Olympics over 16 years, remaining the only American skier to ever win medals at three different Olympics. The ski star and devoted father says a clean choice is his family’s favorite, on and off the mountain. “I smear Honest Company’s sunscreen all over my kids. They have sensitive skin, so I use it too. It’s clean, and it works.”
Click here for the 10 best sunscreens for every budget.