Q: I’m a roadie in the Dominican Republic, so sun protection is important. It seems like my sunscreen washes off when I sweat. Is there a type that is better for cycling? What about lip protection? — Julian O.
COACH FRED: Sunscreen that’s designed for athletic use will resist washing off with sweat and should be effective for several hours. Shop around for one that has an alcohol base, which helps it dry into the skin so it’s less likely to be wiped or rinsed off. Read the promises on the labels, not that they’re any guarantee.
If you happen to be thinning on top, consider wearing a skull cap (‘do rag) under your helmet instead of applying sunscreen that could sweat down into your eyes. Newer helmets have such big vents that lots of scalp is exposed to the sun.
You can also find lip products with sun protection. I use Chap Stick Ultra with an SPF of 30 and it does the job. Lips can be more sensitive than facial skin, and when sun damaged they can be hard to heal. Two lip tips:
- Keep a tube of your lip protection in your jersey pocket so you can reapply it after eating or when it wears off from using your water bottle.
- Heavy breathing through your mouth exposes more of your lower lip to the sun. This is especially true on long climbs when you’re sitting upright. The effect can be intensified by a bead of moisture (perspiration, saliva, drink) on your lower lip. It can act like a lens to focus the sun on this susceptible skin. Keep dabbing on the ‘screen!