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Summer Cycling Skin Care

14 June, 2017

I wanted to direct todays Gear segment towards something I think a lot about during the summer months, my skin! And I'm not just talking about the skin on my face, but also about the skin on my body. When it comes to ride days, I'm as regimented about my skincare routine as I am about styling kit and gear. Not only do I keep my eye on the pulse of the women's cycling industry, but also on natural beauty products that make riding in the sun easier on my face and body. From SPF lip balm to chamois cream, our bodies need all the protection we can get from the summer heat and harsh uv rays.

You've probably heard me talk about skin care before, but I, like a lot of people suffer from dry skin. Also, I'm at an age in my life where my skin is starting to show it's battle wounds from riding out in the California sun in my younger days. Particularly in the summer months, I want my skin looking healthy, soft, and hydrated especially for that post ride swim. I am a true believer that if you invest in a product, like quality women's kit, you'll get the return you're looking for.

When it comes to summer skin, cyclists love to boast of our razor sharp #prohours tan lines but there are some things we should focus on: protecting against chafing, sun and wind burn, and repairing damage. As we spend more time outdoors in the sunshine, our skin may be drying and in danger of premature aging: sun spots, wrinkles, and maybe precancerous spots that we don't want. Here are a few products and tips to keep in mind to keep your skin healthy all summer long while cycling in the sunshine.

Before Care
When preparing for a ride in hot weather, I simply braid my hair in pigtails, add a headband or cycling cap to keep bangs and hair in place, add sunscreen on face/neck, arms, legs, chest, natural bug spray, lather on chamois, put on kit and go. I don't really bother wearing makeup on my rides as it'll just sweat off my face. I always keep a small bottle of sunscreen, spf lip balm, chamois packet, and handkerchief to wipe sweat off my face during rides. Plus you never know when you'll need to reapply any of these items. Prepping your skin is easier than I describe but bear in mind these steps and you'll be glowing.

When it comes to kit, covering up with a UPF jersey, cycling caps, sunglasses, or upf arm sleeves can help protect you from sun damage. If you have thick heavy hair like myself and don't like wearing caps in summer, wearing a headband will also help to keep sweat dripping down your face into your eyes while protecting your face from sweaty hair and hairlines from sun damage while letting your head breath under your helmet. 
Sunscreen should always be on whenever you step outside for long periods of time. Chemical sunscreens usually absorb UV radiation, allowing it to pass the surface of the skin but preventing it to reach the deeper layers, while mineral sunscreens reflect the UV radiation, blocking it from entering the skin at all. Products that block UVA and UVB radiation will be labeled as broad-spectrum (or full-spectrum) protection. I highly recommend a non-greasy broad-spectrum sunscreen with antioxidants to add another layer of protection too. You want to make sure you're getting the best protection while keeping your pores breathing to release sweat.
While sweating on our bikes is a great way our bodies naturally keep us cool, an added benefit to sweat is that it also clears out blemishes and acne, flushes out toxins, and keeps our immune system fighting against environmental pathogens. No summer colds and clear glowing skin is a bonus thanks to our bodies natural cooling function. Just keep in mind that sweat needs to be replaced during and after to prevent dehydration, so hydrate well before and during a ride.

Just because our chamois is soft as a bunnies belly doesn't mean we shouldn't apply chamois cream before and during a ride. There is a lot going on in our lady regions while we are on the saddle. Heat, friction, pressure, sweat, bacteria. All these things become exacerbated on hotter days which can cause pain, chafing, saddle sores, uti's, yeast infection, or discomfort. Applying chamois before a ride and after can help with preventing these terrible afflictions mentioned, leaving you feeling fresh.

After Care
Post ride our bodies and skin need to recover from sun exposure, stress, and the elements. Part of my recovery routine is an epsom salt bath with essential oils and almond oil to soften and soothe my skin as well as relax my muscles and mind. All the work we put on the road, our bodies pay for so why not reward yourself with a little spa day to recover? If not, caring for your skin after a ride is simple with these steps too.

To avoid excessive uneven complexion, redness, lines, and wrinkles, giving our skin healing antioxidants will help reduce free-radical damage on the skin due to exposure to the sun, pollution and stress. Aloe vera, coconut oil, moisturizers rich in Vitamin A, C, E and fatty acids are all great to help repair skin. Also eating or drinking food rich in antioxidants and vitamins will also help excel the repairing process too. While our skin takes most of the visible damage, also consider repairing hair from sun exposure and chemical pollutants too.

Using a good moisturizing cleanser and lotion helps to keep skin well hydrated and helps get rid of sun damage. Use topical antioxidants in your moisturizer to prevent signs of aging and precancerous DNA breakage to reverse early skin damage. A serum with vitamin C to repair damaged skin is the most effective and easiest to come by. It also adds some minor sun protection, so it’s perfect for daytime wear. At night, apply a vitamin A serum, but never wear it during the day, as vitamin A increases sun sensitivity.

Obviously hydrating and replacing electrolytes is key to keep our bodies from becoming dehydrated but in the heat we sweat more and lose more salt. Consider carrying one bidon with water and another mixed with electrolytes to help you avoid bunking and dehydration. I highly recommend Nuun Active Hydration tablets that dissolve in your bottle. You can keep refilling your bidons with water and just drop one in. In addition to keeping hydrated, did you know that water is also the best remedy for great looking skin? You gotta drink at least 3 gallons a day to reap it's benefits on your skin. If your skin is not getting sufficient amounts of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. The unfortunate truth about drinking water and skin is that water will reach all the other organs before it reaches the skin. So, it's important to apply water to our skin too which is refreshing to splash on a beet red face when you've been climbing 3,000 ft of elevation in the heat.

I've attached below some of my personal favorite products. It's important to test and choose which products work best for your skin type. I've had a long standing with these products that work for me as they are natural ingredient based. I understand that not everyone has time or resources to go through ingredients or create a beauty routine, however, I have been able to research and test some of these products to find what works so consider these as suggestions. There are a few other things I've attached like Machines For Freedom's summerweight upf sleeves and Butter Chamois Cream For Her that I personally prefer. There are plenty of other options in the market but these are what work for me in my routine that I hope you find useful for your summer cycling days ahead.

           Machines for Freedom Summerweight Sleeves                                            Chamois Butt'r For Her

images: machinesforfreedom/citygirlrides

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