Strengths: All the KINeSYS sunscreens provide reliable broad-spectrum sun protection; all the spray-on products are alcohol-free; many of the sunscreens contain a good blend of lightweight emollients and are non-greasy; all formulas are either fragrance-free or minimally fragranced.
Weaknesses: Pure zinc oxide product contains rosemary and peppermint oils, which pose a risk of skin irritation; the sunscreens would be better if they included more antioxidants.
As with many smaller skin-care brands, the story of KINeSYS begins with one person’s mission to fill what they perceived as a gap in the market. In this case, that person is Jeff Kletter, a Californian who got a stark warning from his physician during a checkup in 1993: Get in better shape or die young! With that in mind, Kletter hired a personal trainer, and began to seriously work out. Not surprisingly, he experienced some pain and soreness following the workouts, and complained to his trainer that the pain relief products he used for his sore muscles didn’t work for him. The trainer jokingly suggested that Kletter make his own pain-relief formula, which he took seriously, resulting in the birth of KINeSYS in 1994. This this now-primarily sunscreen brand began by selling an Analgesic Sport Stick for pain relief, and it’s still in the product lineup. The sport stick is hardly revolutionary, containing mostly wintergreen oil, menthol, and alcohol… but we digress.
The lore continues that Kletter and his trainer, who eventually married, went on to hire a chemist and a doctor of sports medicine to help them develop more products. That doctor, Doug Clement, told Kletter that, in general, athletes have a lower occurrence of most diseases except for one - skin cancer – the reason being that athletes spend a greater amount of time outdoors. After hearing this, KINeSYS began to focus on sunscreens and the importance of daily sun protection.
The brand’s messaging states its products are ideal for athletes and for anyone who participates in a lot of outdoor activities, but the truth is that a good sunscreen is a good sunscreen, regardless of where it’s being used or who’s using it.
So, are KINeSYS sunscreens good? For the most part, the answer is yes. Every formula offers reliable broad-spectrum protection, which is crucial in preventing sun damage. Though the formulas are extremely basic, they contain no alcohol, which is always a benefit for skin. Even the spray-on sunscreens are alcohol-free, a rarity for this type of sunscreen. Some also are fragrance-free, and even those products that do include fragrance contain only a minimal amount. Also appealing is the fact that the spray-on formulas dry to a silky finish in about five minutes, thanks to the inclusion of silicones that keep them lightly emollient without being greasy. They’re also water-resistant, which means you can be in the water from 40 to 80 minutes (depending on whether the product is “water resistant” or “very water resistant”) before you have to reapply.
For all of our enthusiasm, however, there are some drawbacks. We would like to see more antioxidants included in the formulas, as antioxidants help increase skin’s environmental defenses and give sunscreens a natural boost so they can better protect your skin.
While these formulas are great for skin, if you apply them to your forehead and then sweat profusely, there is a risk of it creeping into your eyes and stinging, although that’s true of any sunscreen that contains synthetic sunscreen agents. Consider testing this issue out; if you have a problem, then to protect your face, wear a hat or use a sunscreen that has only mineral actives
There’s only one true stinker in the KINeSYS line: the zinc oxide ointment, which would have been a great option for sensitive skin, except that it includes peppermint and rosemary oils, both of which pose a risk of skin sensitization and irritation. What were they thinking?
Despite this slight misstep, KINeSYS offers decent options for sun protection, and in convenient, easy-to-use-on-the-go forms that hopefully will lead to more sunscreen application, something we definitely encourage, whether you’re an outdoor athlete or spend most of your time indoors.
For more information about KINeSYS, visit www.kinesys.com, or call 1-877-KINeSYS (U.S.) or 1-888-KINeSYS (Canada).