With fair skin, a genetic history and to live in the most skin cancer prone part of the world, I just can’t ride around willy nilly and hope for the best. Compulsory helmet laws limit the choices for head coverings and the hot weather makes covering up an unpleasant prospect.
So, sunscreens it is. Whether for my daily commute or for a full day on the bike for a tour, I always try to get a layer of it on.
This is what I use pretty much every day. A must have and the best of both worlds by providing that layer of protection from both wind and sun. A good one can be hard to find that is the right combination of sunscreeny but not too sunscreeny. Do a test run and make sure it doesn’t sweat right off. If you commute, choose something you can wear at your final destination. Some of them just don’t soak in and leave me looking pale or patchy. Supermarkets have a great selection of everything from 8+ foundation types, to a lighter tinted 15+ moisturiser, to a full 30+ barrier. Something will suit!
Alcohol / Mist / Spray Type Sunscreens
I find these are best for general coverage of the arms and legs. They are easy to apply to a large area and don’t have a sticky/tacky residue that gets all over your gloves. Because they are a spray, a little goes a long way. A warning, most only offer 2hrs of protection and some can be quite irritating to the eyes so use with caution.
For that full day in the sun, zinc can’t be beat. A good layer over the most vulnerable parts or those parts who have already seen too much sun (I’m looking at you back of the legs that are always forgotten). Zinc has come along way since ye ole days and there is a good range of the ultra pulverised zincs on the market that don’t have that alabaster coating look. Some skin tones still show up some zinc.
Small tubes / containers
Perfect for that reapplication on the go. Something small enough to fit in to a pocket (jersey / pants / hand bag / coat). Many travel stores and even supermarkets have a good assortment of small squeezy tubes to decant your favourite slop in to. Be sure to choose one with a large mouth as this makes it so much easier to get anything in there and to clean it out. Some of the sunscreens even come in their own mini tube but it is much more economical to just buy the big containers and fill up a mini tube as you go.