The sun’s rays can take a toll on any exposed skin, including your horse’s sensitive nose. A sunburnt nose not only looks painful but can lead to peeling, irritation, and even potential skin damage or cancer down the road. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to keep your horse’s schnoz safe when he’s turned out or riding on sunny days. Sunburn protection for horses is most important for horses or ponies who are white, or have white markings on their face and nose. Pintos, bald faces, big blazes, and even snip markings require some sun protection. If you can see pink skin on your horse’s face, you’re going to want to make sure it’s covered. 

In this post, we’ll explore several effective options to keep your horse’s delicate nose from getting scorched, including fly masks designed specifically for sun protection, sunscreen made just for equine noses, and even products you may already have at home that can work in a pinch. With a little preparation and TLC, you can keep your horse’s nose looking healthy while still allowing him to enjoy the great outdoors.

A sunburnt horse nose

Sun Protection Fly Masks for Horses 

The main advantage of a fly mask is in the name– they keep pesky flies off of your horse’s delicate face. They can also double as protection for your horse’s face from the sun. A normal fly mask might not cut it: if your horse has a pink nose that’s prone to sunburn, you’ll need an option that provides extra length to cover your horse’s entire nose. 

Full Face Fly Mask

A full face fly mask is designed to protect the entire face of the horse, not just the eyes and ears. It features mesh over the muzzle and chin to prevent sunburn and stop flies from biting sensitive areas like the nose and lips. Full face masks are ideal for horses that are especially bothered by flies landing on their faces and heads. They provide more comprehensive protection compared to a standard fly mask.

Sunbrero Fly Mask 

The Sunbrero SolarShield fly mask sets itself apart with its thoughtfully designed nose protection. This mask features a custom-shaped NoseSkirt that minimizes the risk of respiratory infections. Traditional nose flaps often get wet when horses drink, allowing contaminants to collect. The NoseSkirt prevents this issue by covering the nostrils while still allowing comfortable breathing. 

In addition to smart nose protection, the SolarShield mask offers a soft cotton poll strap, elasticized Velcro closure, triple-layered fleece browband padding, and a soft sherpa noseband for comfort. The customizable equine sun protection options range from 70% to 95% shade for the face area and up to 99% for the nose.

EquiVisor Fly Mask

With its unique triple-dart vizor design, the EquiVizor mask stays off the horse’s eyes and face for optimal comfort and vision. The vizor prevents collapse onto the eyes, while the 95% UV protection aids in sunburn and cancer prevention. 

The quick-release safety clip offers easy size adjustments for a custom fit. Designed for versatility, this mask can be worn over a bridle for riding without needing two separate masks. It stays securely on the horse, avoiding the “Houdini” fly mask disappearance act.

A pinto horse in a full coverage fly mask

Sunscreen Options for Horses 

If your horse struggles to keep their fly mask on their face, you might need to use sunscreen instead of or in addition to the fly mask. These are a few sunscreen options you might already have around your home. Make sure you check in with your vet before using them. 


Zinc oxide is a common ingredient in sunscreens and diaper rash ointments that can also be used on horses. Zinc creates a physical barrier on the skin, reflecting UV rays away from the surface. It is usually safe for use on equine skin, but consider checking with your vet first. Smooth a thin layer onto the vulnerable pink skin of the nose, ears, and other exposed areas. Reapply frequently, as zinc can rub off on contact.

Baby Sunscreen 

In many cases, if a sunscreen is gentle enough for babies, it’s gentle enough to use on your horse’s nose.  Look for a mineral-based sunscreen made for babies when selecting one for your horse. Avoid chemical sunscreens with ingredients like oxybenzone. Stick to physical blockers like zinc oxide. Pick a formula with an SPF of at least 15. Test a small area first to ensure the horse does not have an adverse reaction. Apply sparingly to the nose and coat before sun exposure. Reapply every few hours.


The popular diaper rash cream Desitin contains zinc oxide that can protect delicate horse skin. Make sure to use the traditional white-colored Desitin, not newer colored formulas. Apply a layer to vulnerable pink skin. The thick formula can be tricky to spread, so rubbing it between your fingers first helps. Reapply after sweating or swimming. Desitin is affordable and easy to find, making it a handy option for sun protection. Monitor that your horse does not try to lick it off!

Sunscreen Made for Horses 

Normally, sunscreen that’s specifically designed for horses is your best bet. These scientifically created equine sunscreens have great reviews. 

NRG Pink Noze

NRG Pink Noze provides natural sun protection that’s as easy as smoothing on a cream. This fragrance-free shielding cream contains Vitamin E and natural oils to nourish while safeguarding sensitive areas. With no harmful chemicals, this formula creates a gentle barrier that lasts for days without daily reapplication. Pink Noze is water resistant yet doesn’t need washing off before reapplying. Suitable for all animals, this lasting shield cream is quickly accepted, even on delicate facial areas. Just apply to vulnerable pink and white skin prone to burning, including the nose, eyes, head, ears, feet and under the tail.

Sunflower Suncoat

Sunflower Suncoat uses the power of sunflower extract to protect hair and skin from UV damage. This performance formula contains sunflower extract, a free radical scavenger that stops hair degradation caused by UV-A rays. Scientifically proven to effectively guard against sun damage, sunflower extract shields the structure of the hair itself. Sunflower Suncoat also includes select UV-B blocking sunscreens for comprehensive protection across the ultraviolet spectrum. By safeguarding from both UV-A and UV-B, this spray preserves the natural color of coats, manes, and tails while repairing existing bleaching or burning.

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