What Run Oregon is Trying: Safety Skin

I mentioned before that I’ve been subscribing to the Fun Run Box and getting to try out new running-related products while tackling monthly challenges. Well, this month’s box came with a pretty neat product that I thought was worth reviewing: Safety Skin.

If you like running at night but are concerned about being seen, your options have generally been to wear a headlamp, a reflective safety vest, and/or a lit safety vest. But headlamps can bounce up and down on your forehead, and vests can be mildly restrictive. And if you are the type who likes to run shirtless (ahem, Brian Bernier), I could see how the vest would be potentially chaffing.

Enter Safety Skin. It’s a stick containing a substance that you smear on your skin. In regular lighting conditions, it’s a subtle gray, but when light is shone directly on it, it becomes super-reflective.

Here are contrasting photos taken in the same location, with the only difference being that I turned the flash on for the second one:






Safety Skin doesn’t feel sticky or slimy; the closest analogue I can come up with is what zinc oxide-based sunblock feels like. And like zinc oxide-based sunblock, Safety Skin is fairly resistant to sweat or water. In fact, removing it takes a bit of serious scrubbing, which means one application should last quite a long time.

At $18.95 per 1.5 oz stick, this is on the pricey side, even with one stick lasting up to a hundred or more uses. Of course, safety is priceless, but it probably comes down to a matter of personal preference about whether a consumable item like this is better than a durable item like a reflective vest. Even with a safety vest, though, I could see how having one stick around would be useful, especially if you’re feeling in a creative mood. You can use the Safety Skin Reflective Skin Spread to write letters on yourself, or draw pictures.

Company: Safety Skin

Products: Safety Skin Reflective Skin Spread ($18.95 for 1.5 oz stick)

Currently, four Portland-area stores carry Safety Skin:

Lakeside Bicycles

428 N State St
Lake Oswego, OR  97034

Portland Running Company

10029 SW Nimbus Ave, Ste 100
Beaverton, OR  97008

800 SE Grand Ave
Portland, OR  97214

Velo Cult Bike Shop

1969 NE 42nd Ave
Portland, OR  97213

Here’s more about Safety Skin:

“The light bulb went on in 2010, after leaning against a wet surface while painting the interior of a home.  Cleaning up after a long day, the white stripe of paint, which transferred from the wall to my arm, was relentless in its removal.  Seeking some fresh air, I stepped out for a run.  As the evening turned dark and the roads became busier, I noticed the extra brilliance which that white stripe seemed to give me.  Now resembled in our brush stroke branding, that stripe of paint turned into an idea inspiring the development of SAFETY SKIN™.”

*”More About” information taken from the company’s website. We like to let their own stories speak for themselves, because we review companies that have real personality and passion about what they do.


About Tung Yin (278 Articles)
Law prof by day, runner all the time. Got off the couch in January 2011 and have been obsessed with running ever since.
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