As a marathon runner, I spend more time in the sun than I feel comfortable with, considering my fair complexion and family history of skin cancer. But while I’ve always been religious about slathering on a waterproof, SPF-80-or-higher sunblock on my body and face before heading out on my workouts, there’s one spot I often forget about: my hands.
Usually, after applying a sunblock-y smelling, heavy-duty SPF, the first thing I want to do is wash the greasy residue off my hands and fingers. But as any dermatologist will tell you, no skin is immune to sun damage and premature aging — and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer before turning 70 years old. Yikes. So after a few telltale watch tans that stopped abruptly at my wrist, I decided it was time to stop neglecting coverage on the one body part that’s always fully exposed on my runs (except for those rare cold LA days when I wear gloves). I snagged a bottle of Supergoop! Hand Screen ($38), an SPF 40 concoction that doubles as a cream and a sunblock, to see if it might be the solution.
The first time I applied Hand Screen before heading out for a seven-miler, I was pleasantly surprised by its subtle, clean scent and smooth, lotion-y application. There was no grimy sunblock-y residue or smell. If I didn’t know any better, I’d be doubtful that it was actually sunblock. How could something that felt this creamy and light actually ward off sun damage? Sure, while Hand Screen’s nearly $40 price tag might initially make you balk, the bang for your buck is major, since one or two pumps is all you need for full coverage. My best guesstimate is that my full-size bottle will last at least six months, though if you’d rather test it out before making that commitment, there’s a mini size of Hand Screen for just $14.
While Hand Screen’s vegan and reef-safe formula isn’t waterproof, I find that because the tops of my hands never get particularly sweaty, it stays put for the duration of even my longer long runs. And aside from the sun-damage-combating benefits, the formula is super hydrating — an added bonus since most of us are washing our hands more than ever amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In fact, I’ve happily started using it at my desk just like I would any regular hand cream.