All cyclists should wear a sport sunscreen. According to the CDC, the lifetime rate of developing deadly melanoma is 2.6 percent for whites. The rates for African Americans and Hispanics are significantly less. Melanoma is cancer that can be largely prevented by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, avoiding the peak rays of the day, and not using tanning beds. As cyclists, we catch more than our fair share of rays from the sun- so wearing a sport sunscreen is essential.
Cyclists sweat, and some of us sweat a lot! Regular sunscreens can be washed away with sweat, leaving you vulnerable to the sun’s rays. Waterproof and sport sunscreen is designed to withstand the moisture and salts in sweat without wearing away. When regular sunscreens combine with sweat, they can drip into your eyes and cause them to sting. Sport sunscreens are designed to be less irritating to the eyes. Sport sunscreens may cost a bit more, but they also may not need to be reapplied as frequently.
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Another important factor to consider when selecting a sports sunscreen for cycling is your own personal skin type. If you are prone to acne or have dry skin, for example, some sunscreens can exacerbate your skin issues. Fortunately, there are many sunscreens designed for different skin types, and you can find one that can actually help promote healthy skin as you wear it.
Finding a good sunscreen can be a bit of trial and error: no matter how much homework you do ahead of time, the best way to truly determine which sunscreen will work best for you is trial and error. The selections listed below represent a number of the best sport sunscreens on the market and should make a great starting point for your shopping.
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1. Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70+ – This dermatologist-recommended sunscreen is designed for use during vigorous activities, like cycling. It’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog your pores, and it’s also oil-free and PABA-free. It resists water, sweat, and wiping for 80 minutes, so remember to reapply on those long rides.
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2. Aveeno Hydrosport Wet Skin Spray Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – This sunscreen harnesses a special Lotus Complex to naturally repel water as it protects your skin and can even be applied when your skin is wet. It’s a spray sunscreen so application is easy, and provides effective coverage that is lightweight and not greasy.
3. Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ – For a natural alternative, check out the Thinksport line of sunscreen products. These sunscreens are free of harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and avobenzone but still offer superior protection from the sun’s harmful rays. They do not test and animals and are gluten-free.
4. Coola Sport Face SPF 50 White Tea Organic Sunscreen Lotion – This organic sunscreen is both water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It features acai berry fruit extract, safflower oleosomes, and evening primrose oil to help renew moisture and provide extra UV protection in a natural, therapeutic manner.
5. Aquaphor Lip Repair Protect UVA/UVB SPF 30 – Don’t neglect your lips! This unique formulation by Aquafor will protect your lips from both dryness and the sun’s rays. It’s designed for sensitive skin and protects and moisturizes using the power of Vitamin E and shea butter. It’s also free of dyes, fragrance, and paraben.
6. All Terrain KidSport SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion – This sunscreen designed for children offers a safe, non-harsh alternative to traditional sport sunscreens. It is fragrance-free and designed to not sting if it gets in the eyes. It is both water and sweat resistant, and cruelty-free, so you can feel good about putting in on your kids when they go cycling.
No matter which sunscreen you choose, it’s important to remember to reapply frequently. Even the highest rated sport sunscreens for cycling need to be reapplied every 80 minutes, so be sure you pack your sunscreen with you before you take off on your ride. If you are like me and don’t like to carry a lot of bulky products with you on your bike, buy a small plastic container and fill it with your sunscreen of choice, and then refill it as needed. This can be especially handy if you need to use several different products for your face, body, and lips.
Protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays means more than just preventing a sunburn. Unprotected sun exposure leaves you at risk for developing skin cancer, and even a short time in the sun means unnecessary risk. Don’t take any chances with your skin. For more advice on how to stay safe when cycling, check out some of our other bicycle blog entries.