Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: jinx on June 27, 2012, 11:41:46 pm

Title: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: jinx on June 27, 2012, 11:41:46 pm
I hate sunscreen. But I need it.

I find myself not wanting to ride because I can't stand to use sunscreen. I dislike the smell, the stickiness, the way it burns my eyes, the way it collects dirt and the way it won't let my skin breathe while I sweat. I've tried different brands but they all suck in one way or another. And some say the chemicals in sunscreen may be as harmful as the cancers I'm trying to avoid. I've used the white grease-based sunscreens and the spray/alcohol types and find them both miserable to wear.

I have a long-sleeve white shirt but most of the time wearing it is uncomfortably warm. I admit I'm an over-weight weekend cyclist wanting to be reasonably comfortable while trying to have fun. Cycling is supposed to be fun, right?

What do you use to keep from cooking in the sun?

Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: bogiesan on June 27, 2012, 11:47:58 pm
Any of us Boomers survived childhood with zinc oxide and baby oil.
Consumer and sports magazines run sunscreen tests and evaluations in their spring issues. Try researching the reviews; there are millions of people who don't like sunscreen for various reasons and there seems to be a brand and potion to satisfy every one of them.

I like the nanoparticle stuff myself. But I carry sun skins for my arms.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: FredHiltz on June 28, 2012, 06:15:19 am
Based on what Consumer Reports says, I buy whatever is cheap and alcohol-based, not liking the greasy stuff any more than you do. The alcohol-based ones are more like shaving lotion to apply, they dry quickly and have a totally different feel on the skin. Try one.

Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: indyfabz on June 28, 2012, 08:18:24 am
I buy No-Ad brand:

The GF uses spray on Neutrogena, which I used during a ten day tour last year. It has a strange smell. Every time she puts it on I am transported back to somewhere in SW Montana, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: DaveB on June 28, 2012, 09:14:57 am
I buy No-Ad or Walmarts's house brand as they work well and are far cheaper than the name brand stuff.  I don't mind the lotion type as it does wash off in the shower and the stickiness is not bad when it's on. Both are nearly odorless.

As an alternative, most of the outdood suppliers (REI, Campmor, etc.) sell very light weight long sleeve shirts intended as sun blockers but should not be too hot.  I know a rider who is extremenly sun sensitive and uses these shirts successfully.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: aggie on June 28, 2012, 10:18:31 am
I either use a long sleeve shirt or a titanium/zinc oxide sunscreen.  I can't wear most of the recent formulations of sunscreens.  They have added something that gives me hives.  I don't like the sunscreen I can use because of the stickiness, etc but it's better than a sunburn.  I do put a little on my nose, ears, face and neck and then use a wipe to remove them after the ride. 

My next step is to see a dermatologist to find out if there is a non-sticky sunscreen I can use.

Update.  I just bought two sunscreens by Neutrogena.   The firs is their "pure & free" liguid.  The actives are Titanium and Zinc Oxides.  It doesn't have a greasy feel and seems to disappear into the skin.  I also have their "Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion".  It says it is non greasy but I find it leaves a very slight greasy feel to the skin.  It does disappear so the skin doesn't take on the white zinc oxide look.  Both are a little pricey.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: johnsondasw on June 28, 2012, 02:08:50 pm
I use any brand that seems like a good deal.  Admittedly, some of them feel greasy when applying, but once its on I don't notice it again.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: dombrosk on June 29, 2012, 08:13:45 am
For folks with 'non-reactive' skin, almost any sunscreen may work fine.  If, like me, you tend to be prone to rashes, it gets more difficult.

Here's one to try:  Aveeno Face SPF 30... although it's sold for face I use it as my primary sunscreen without having any skin reactions.  In the past I've had good luck with some of the fragrance-free Neutrogenas.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: waynemyer on June 29, 2012, 08:36:50 am
I use nothing for sunscreen (well, melanin), but I will occasionally wear clothing to keep me cooler. As long as air is moving over the body, black is the cooler color because of its greater absorption. White reflects radiant energy, including the energy that the body is emanating. White is great for sitting still, but when moving on a bicycle, white is also reflecting your own radiant energy back into your body.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: gpshay on July 03, 2012, 01:13:14 am
Well I live in Phx Az. so I am very famila with the heat .. I dont wear sun screen for the same reasons you mentioned .. but I do wear leg and arm protection .. if i am going to be on the bike more that 1/2 hour ... i have found these to be the best protection so far ...
I also ride a Goldwing MC in the heat and found soaking ones shirt with water will help break the heat .. carry a couple extra water bottles for squirting down your arms and legs will help with the heat .. Glenn
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: Pat Lamb on July 03, 2012, 10:39:36 am
Has anyone used the sun protectors in humid areas?  I'm curious if they're usable in humid heat. 

For comparison, I've got a very thin, polysomething, long sleeve jersey.  It's too thin to wear below about 55 (F) without another layer, whereas I can go 10 degrees cooler with some other jerseys.  Yet I can't tolerate the thin jersey above 80, even when the humidity is a relatively dry 50-60%.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: csykes on July 17, 2012, 10:26:51 pm
Pearl Izumi makes a black version of the arm sun protectors.  Has anyone tried them?
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: ridergirl50 on July 18, 2012, 06:02:07 pm
I've had good success with "arm coolers" from SOL SKIN, Sugoi, Pearl Izumi and others.  They are white and made of a wicking material.  As you sweat (only a little bit with these) the air movement you create while riding pulls the moisture away and your arms are cooled.  I end the ride, pull off the arm coolers, and my arms feel clean and cool, much better than they would with the sun beating down on them all day and the sunscreen grabbing all the grit and hanging onto it.  You can find a good selection at and at  Good luck!
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: Galloper on July 19, 2012, 08:33:30 am
I think I'm going to sulk!   We've just had the wettest April, May and June since records began and July isn't turning out much better.   Come to the UK, you won't need any sunscreen just lots of waterproofs :)
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: awbikes on July 19, 2012, 10:28:50 pm
Ridergirl50 is dead on the money with her assessment of arm protectors. I live and ride in Florida in 98 degree heat. Can not stand sunscreen and don't use it. My Pearl Izumi (white) arm protectors are comfortable and do not feel warm and if anything shade my arms and produce a cooling effect by the process of evaporation. When I stop and go into an establishment I forget I'm even wearing them. I have tried the baggy long sleeve fishing type shirts and I feel the sweat running and the shirt feels sticky and miserable. Do I think I look weird with the skin tight arm protectors? Yes, but they ABSOLUTLEY work. Incidentally m wife wears Canari brand and they work well also. Just be sure and get the light weight sun shades and not heavy black winter arm warmers.
Title: Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
Post by: BikeFreak on July 29, 2012, 04:51:22 am
Here's my story:

This summer I did the TA and from previous trips I wanted the No-Ad sun screen: Cheap, large bottles, good smell and not greasy. Problem is, that it is difficult finding the No Ad sun screens. I went to Walgreens and Walmart but they don't carry them in their phsysical stores. I ended up buying the Walgreens house brand because it was cheap and "looked" good. I hated it from day 1. It was so greasy and it would never soak in. A few days later I got so annoyed that I went straight into a Walmart to see what they would carry. In Walmart I applied small amount of sun screen (from different brands) to small spots on my arm and started walking around the shop. I was observing how the different products would behave on the skin. An oh boy there was a big difference: I settled with the Walmart brand called Equate, more specifically "Equate General Protection Lotion SPF 50, 16 fl oz" at 8 dollars or so:

This one behaved like the good oll' No Ad which I had missed: No greasyness and very cheap.

The bottle lasted for the entire TA, which in my case means 30 days, and there was more left. In general I applied sun screen 1 time a day.


PS: I do hate sunscreen myself - even though I found a good one.