Sunscreen That Holds Up for Cycling?

The weather in the Midwest US has finally dried out enough to ride outside. I’ve tried a lot of different brands of sunscreen in the past but haven’t ever hit on one that I like, especially for longer rides. I asked a dermatologist for a recommendation for a good sunscreen for sport and was told to stick to a zinc oxide based sunscreen, but she didn’t recommend any particular brand.

So my question to the collective wisdom of the the TrainerRoad Forum is this - what do you use for sunscreen that provides good protection and holds up well to long hours in the saddle? Thanks in advance for any tips.

Avg Joe

I’m not sure if it’s zinc oxide-based, but I like the Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen SPF 30, which comes in both spray and lotion. I used that at last year’s Seattle-to-Portland ride, which was incredibly hot and sunny and I didn’t burn a bit in the 10+ hours I was in the sun.

This sunscreen is nice because it was one of the few I found that comes in individual 1oz packets (perfect size for saddle bag or jersey pocket). I used the spray before I left in the morning and re-applied a few times during the day with the 1oz tubes.


I have tried a bunch but find the Riemann products are the best. It goes on like an oil but very quickly dries and you never notice it again. I’ve done many long days without needing to reapply including some back to back 5 - 6 hour days up in the mountains around Leadville last weekend. The only downside is it is not cheap and it takes a while to arrive (if you live in U.S.), since it comes from the U.K.


I pretty much only use the mineral-based sunscreens (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide). The one I use the most is the Badger-brand, although it sometimes rubs off if I’m not careful. Doc’s is a bit more resistant to coming off, but it looks like they’ve unfortunately discontinued it. My SO really likes the Blue Lizard sunscreen, but most of theirs still has some other chemicals in there besides the minerals. Their baby version is purely mineral-based… I don’t know how it lasts though. I should get some and try it out. Their regular stuff definitely lasts, though.

Edited to add: I used Badger brand living in southern AZ, and now I live in the Bay Area of CA. I’m very fair-skinned and burn easily, so I am pretty paranoid about putting sunscreen on.

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Coppertone Sport has worked well for me for quite a few years.


Living in Tucson, AZ I have to wear sunscreen pretty much year round. I’ve come to really like Walmart’s spray on sunscreen (Equate brand). It isn’t tacky so it doesn’t gunk up like many other brands, it comes in sport and kid friendly versions (they are both “water proof”) and you can usually get SPF 50 for a few cents more.

I know not everyone likes to buy from Walmart, but I do 4-5 hour rides every Saturday and even with our extreme UV exposure I never get any sun burn when using their sunscreen.

Equate from Walmart is/was very good. It’s a hassle reapplying and so I bought arm and leg UV protection (like warmers except for blocking the sun). Then I only need to reapply to neck and face (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) while on really long rides during the day.


I use Garnier Ambre Solaire UV Sport. SP50, nice and dry not tacky. Really don’t notice it once it’s on (other brands I’ve tried feel sticky or like they’re blocking pores or sweat glands), seems to allow me to sweat as freely as I would without any sun protection, and without any extra stinging or burning sensation which I’ve had in the past, but don’t burn even on long rides. Have done 70.3s in hot sunny weather (over 30C on the run) with no problem with just a single application before the start, so it holds up pretty well through a swim and 2 transitions.

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A mineral based option I have used. It stays on for long sporting activities. Most of the sports stuff just sweats off IME.
I call BS on any product that goes on easy and isn’t noticeably annoying. As soon as you start to sweat most products are gone.

20 years of working in the sun. I hate sunscreen residue.

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The P20 is very good but I have found it can cause white garments to yellow pretty badly.

Coppertone Sport 15 is my go-to. I can tolerate up to 30SPF, but the higher you go the thicker it is, which makes me feel hotter and feel like I’m sweating more, so I usually run with the 15.

I prefer the spray-on, but the cream works well too. Just make sure you rub the spray-on in, otherwise you’ll look like a dalmation.

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I haven’t had any issues and I use regular old banana boat sport and am STL. The key is put it on and giving it time to sink in. I also use arm sleeves like someone else mentioned.

I’ve had luck using SPF 50billion or whatever for kids, the Equate stuff from Wally World or whatever was on sale. I like the spray because it fits in the jersey pocket reasonably well next to my spesh road tube spool and is easy to apply.

On my longer commutes home (2hr rides) I’d spray it on when leaving work in the afternoon and was good all the way home.

Longer weekend rides I’d bring one with me and spray it on every two hours.

I have delicate flower lady skin (but I’m old wrinkly and ugly…go figure) that burns super quickly and easily. I then peel, and turn back to paste white. But with using a bit of generic spray as needed I actually develop a sort of faded brownish piss out your ass diarrhea color like tan line on my neck, legs, & arms.

Sadly I didn’t apply sunscreen one time this entire year in the UK, got a bit of tan but not much. Don’t overthink it and grab a can next time you’re getting your 12’er of natty ice at the local hellmart.