‘I’m a Park Ranger, and These Are My 5 Non-Negotiables When It Comes to Protecting Myself From the Sun’

Photo: Getty Images / Cavan Images
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Redwood forests, rugged California coasts, icy glacial lakes—these breathtaking views greet Felicia Jimenez every morning. As an interpretive park ranger based in California, Jimenez's daily routine is as diverse as the terrain she navigates. One day, she's giving a guided hike along the trails, and the next, she's educating visitors about brown bears. But amidst her ever-changing schedule, there's one thing that remains pretty consistent: her sun-protection essentials.

"For the most part, I'm outside all day," she says. "There might be some time spent indoors, like for office work, but I'm usually spending six to seven hours of my day outside and in the sun."

@ube_softserve Replying to @the1needlepusher Why did that bear waste so much fish?? High grading baby! Gotta gain as much weight as possible for hibernation. ☺️ #rangerfelicia #katmai #nationalpark #bears #parkranger ♬ original sound - Felicia ☀️

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According to a July 2022 report conducted by the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, health experts identified a causal relationship between wildlife officers' and park rangers' occupational requirements and an increased risk of sun cancer. This finding underscores the importance of sunscreen and UV-protective apparel outside. Jimenez believes in the powers of SPF, explaining, "sunscreen is an absolute non-negotiable. Since I spend so much time outdoors, making sure I protect my skin is high priority."

Even if most of us aren't professional park rangers who trek mountains and teach visitors about bears, there's still a thing or two we can glean from Jimenez's sun-protection regimen. That way, we can all enjoy the Great Outdoors safely.

UV protection a Park Ranger swears by (that you should, too)


supergoop unseen sunscreen
Supergoop!, Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 — $48.00

One essential that Jimenez can’t live without? Sunscreen. “I always wear at least SPF 30, and am really good at reapplying. So far, I like Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen,” she tells us. This clear, matter sunscreen feels just like second skin. It’s lightweight and invisible, so you don’t have to worry about it leaving behind a white cast. Also in the formulation is meadow foam seed, which has purported benefits of boosting your skin’s hydration levels. Water and sweat-resistant for 40 minutes, this sunscreen will have you protected even against the sweatiest hikes. Now, who’s ready to hit the trails?

kinfield cloud cover
Kinfield, Cloud Cover SPF 35 — $28.00

Jimenez also keeps Kinfield’s Cloud Cover at the top of her beauty cabinet. This sunscreen punches in at SPF 35 to keep your skin protected no matter if you’re trekking seven miles up a mountain or enjoying a picnic in the park. Formulated with aloe, glycerin, and sea kelp, Cloud Cover simultaneously protects your skin from UV rays while soothing and restoring dry, irritated skin. Don’t let the mineral label fool you, though—it doesn’t leave behind any white cast and melts seamlessly into the skin. A win-win!

elf cosmetics untouchable whoa glow broad spectrum spf 30
Elf, Suntouchable! Whoa Glow — $14.00

For a more budget-friendly option, Jimenez recommends Elf’s Suntouchable! Whoa Glow. This chemical sunscreen does double duty as a tinted sunscreen and face primer, protecting your skin from the UV rays (it has SPF 30) while prepping your face for any makeup. Beyond that, the formula is lightweight and is made with hydrating boosters like aloe, squalane, and hyaluronic acid. Plus, it’s ideal for all skin types: oily, normal, dry, combination, you name it.


lululemon long-sleeve shirt
Lululemon, UV Protection Long-Sleeve Shirt — $88.00

Sizes available: 0-14

In addition to sunscreen, Jimenez wears always long-sleeves on the job. This Lululemon Long-Sleeve Shirt is perfect for venturing out into the wilderness or pounding the pavement because it’s made with a UV-protective (UPF 40+) fabric to keep rays at bayside. Sweat-wicking and quick-drying—this shirt is no match for hot and sun-filled days. Bonus: The long sleeves keep bug bites at bay, too.

Colors: 2

Baggu, Soft Sun Hat — $36.00

Last but not least, Jimenez doesn’t leave her house without her Baggu hat. It’s stylish as it is functional, providing UPF 50+ sun protection. It’s also got a floppy, wide-brim style to ward off the sun and keep the rays from shining in your face. Available in six chic colors, there’s a hat for people of all tastes.

Colors: 6

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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