Cycling And Sunscreen (The Ultimate Guide)

Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or are just getting your training wheels, you may be affected by the sun´s harmful UV rays. With our ultimate guide to cycling and sunscreen, we've got your back (and your face, arms, and legs) covered.

In this guide, we'll pedal through the sunny lanes of sun protection, revealing the secrets to keeping your skin happy and healthy while out on your favourite roads and trails.

From the science behind UV rays to the ins and outs of choosing the perfect sunscreen. We'll be your virtual sunscreen peloton, ready to help you conquer the ride while fending off those sneaky sunburns.

So, strap on your helmet, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to get to know your sun-smart cycling ritual. 

Do Cyclists Wear Sunscreen?

In short, yes, cyclists do wear sunscreen. Long, sweaty hours on the bike in direct sunlight mean that cyclists spend a lot of time exposed to harmful UV rays. A high-SPF, sweat-resistant sunscreen is a must!

Do cyclists wear sunscreen

The Sun and Cycling

When cyclists set out on two-wheeled adventures, they will inevitably find themselves directly exposed to the sun's rays.

Whether it's a leisurely ride or an intense mountain biking session, the sun becomes a constant companion.

Unlike other outdoor activities where shade might offer respite, cyclists often find themselves under the open sky for extended periods, making sun protection essential!

The Hot Reality: Potential Risks of Sun Exposure while Cycling

While the warmth of the sun on your skin can feel blissful, and lycra tan lines can be a badge of honour, it's important to recognise the potential risks of overexposure.

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to sunburns, premature skin ageing, and even an increased risk of skin cancer.

Cyclists, who spend extended periods in the sun can be particularly susceptible to these risks. Moreover, the combination of wind and sweat during cycling can make sunburns more severe, causing discomfort and affecting performance.

Protect, Ride, Repeat: The Need for Proper Sun Protection

Given the risks associated with sun exposure, cyclists must prioritise proper sun protection.

Shielding their skin from harmful UV rays not only helps prevent short-term discomfort but also supports long-term skin health. By incorporating sun protection measures into their cycling routine, cyclists can ensure a safer and more enjoyable experience on the road or trails.

So, let's explore how cyclists can keep their skin protected while they pedal their way to adventure!

Benefits of Wearing Sunscreen For Cycling

When it comes to cycling, incorporating sunscreen into your routine offers a multitude of benefits. Let's explore why slathering on some SPF is a wise move for every cyclist

  • Enhanced performance: Wearing sunscreen can prevent discomfort caused by sunburn, allowing you to focus better and perform at your best during cycling.
  • Protection from harmful UV rays: Sunscreen shields your skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, preventing sunburn and skin damage.
  • Lower risk of skin cancer: Regular use of sunscreen reduces your chances of developing skin cancer caused by prolonged sun exposure.
  • Prevention of premature aging: Sunscreen helps prevent wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots caused by UV damage, keeping your skin looking youthful.
  • Maintains skin health: Sunscreen protects your skin from environmental pollutants and harsh weather conditions, keeping it healthy and moisturized.
  • Overall skin protection: Sunscreen acts as a barrier against harmful elements, reducing the risk of skin irritation, redness, and inflammation while cycling.

Sunscreen for cyclists Palm & Pine Skincare

Choosing the Right Sunscreen for Cyclists

When it comes to sunscreen, there's a wide array of options to choose from. Here are some common types you'll encounter:

  1. Creams and Lotions: These are the traditional and most widely used forms of sunscreen. They are easy to apply, offer good coverage, and come in various SPF levels.
  2. Sprays: Sunscreen sprays provide convenience, especially for cyclists on the go. They offer quick application and are great for hard-to-reach areas. Just be sure to apply them outdoors to avoid inhaling the spray which can be toxic.
  3. Sticks: Sunscreen sticks are compact and travel-friendly, making them a popular choice among cyclists. They are convenient for precise application, such as around the eyes and lips.

Factors to Consider for Cycling Sunscreen Selection

Selecting the right sunscreen for cycling requires a few key considerations:

  1. Broad Spectrum Protection: Look for sunscreens labeled as "broad spectrum," as they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. This ensures comprehensive coverage.
  2. SPF Level: Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Higher SPF values offer longer-lasting, more powerful protection.
  3. Water and Sweat Resistance: Since cycling involves physical exertion and sweating, opt for water-resistant or sweat-resistant sunscreens. These formulations stay on the skin longer, even during intense rides or when you work up a sweat.
  4. Non-Greasy and Quick Absorption: Look for sunscreens that are lightweight, non-greasy, and quickly absorbed into the skin. This ensures comfort during rides and minimizes the risk of the sunscreen running into your eyes or causing your hands to slip on the handlebars. Palm & Pine´s Mineral sunscreen is great for this purpose as it doesn't cause eye stinging and starts protecting from the minute it´s applied.
  5. Go Fragrance-Free: Fragrances can be a potential irritant, especially when combined with sweat and heat during a ride. By selecting a fragrance-free sunscreen, you not only avoid stinging eyes but also reduce the risk of skin sensitivity or allergic reactions. This ensures a comfortable and enjoyable cycling experience, free from any distractions or discomfort caused by artificial fragrances. Keep it fresh, keep it fragrance-free!

Sunscreen Application and Reapplication Tips for Cycling´

Applying and reapplying sunscreen effectively during rides is essential for optimal protection. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Pre-Ride Application: Apply sunscreen generously to all exposed areas at least 15 minutes before you start cycling. This allows the sunscreen to fully bind to your skin and provide maximum protection.
  2. Reapplication Routine: Aim to reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you're sweating excessively or wiping your face. Carry a small travel-sized sunscreen tube with you to ensure you can reapply on the go.
  3. Target Vulnerable Areas: Pay special attention to areas that are most exposed or prone to burning, such as the face, lips, nose, ears, arms, and legs. Don't forget the back of your neck!
  4. Clothing Considerations: Even with sunscreen, it's wise to wear sun-protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, cycling arm sleeves, and UV-blocking sunglasses. This adds an extra layer of defense against the sun's rays.
Sunscreen for cyclists Palm & Pine Skincare

    Other Sun Protection Tips for Cyclists

    While sunscreen is a vital part of sun protection, there are other measures cyclists can take to further safeguard their skin.

    Here are some additional tips:

    1. Seek Shade: When possible, plan your cycling routes to include shaded areas or ride during times when the sun's intensity is lower, such as early mornings or late afternoons. This can help reduce direct exposure to the sun's rays.
    2. Sun-Protective Clothing: Consider wearing sun-protective clothing designed specifically for outdoor activities. Look for garments with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings that block a significant amount of UV rays. Long-sleeved shirts, cycling arm sleeves, and lightweight, breathable fabrics can offer excellent sun protection.
    3. Plan Your Route Wisely: When mapping out your cycling route, consider opting for shaded paths, tree-lined roads, or trails with natural cover. By choosing routes that offer more shade, you can minimize direct sun exposure and reduce the risk of sunburns.
    4. Post-Ride Skincare: After a fulfilling ride, take a moment to care for your skin post-cycling. Rinse off any sweat and dirt accumulated during the ride with a gentle cleanser, followed by applying a moisturizer to replenish hydration. This helps soothe the skin and supports its recovery from sun exposure and environmental factors.
    5. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your cycling sessions. Sweating can dehydrate you quickly, and proper hydration helps regulate your body temperature and maintain overall health.
    6. Take Breaks in the Shade: If you feel overheated or fatigued during your ride, find a shaded spot to take a break. This allows your body to cool down and reduces the risk of heat-related issues.

    Mineral Sunscreen: The Cycling Champion for Sun Protection!

    When it comes to cycling and sun protection, there's a star player in the sunscreen game that deserves a spotlight: mineral sunscreen.

    With its natural ingredients and skin-loving benefits, mineral sunscreen is like a secret weapon for cyclists seeking optimal sun protection.

    Here's why mineral sunscreen takes the lead on the cycling podium:

    Tough as a Climbing Stage: Enhanced UV Protection

    Mineral sunscreens, typically containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, offer broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

    These mighty minerals form a physical barrier on your skin, reflecting and scattering the sun's harmful rays away from your delicate epidermis.

    This means you can pedal through those sun-drenched landscapes with confidence, knowing your skin is shielded from potential damage.

    Sweatproof in the Saddle: Stay Protected, Stay Comfortable

    One of the biggest challenges for cyclists is finding a sunscreen that withstands sweat and doesn't run into their eyes, causing discomfort and potential vision impairment.

    Luckily, mineral sunscreens excel in this department. Their non-greasy formulas have impressive sweat resistance, staying put on your skin even during intense rides.

    So, no more sunscreen-induced eye stings or blurry views of the road ahead!

    Breathe Easy, Ride Easy: Gentle and Non-Irritating

    For cyclists who prioritize comfort, mineral sunscreen is a true winner.

    Its gentle formulation makes it suitable for most skin types, even those prone to sensitivity or allergies.

    Unlike some chemical sunscreens, mineral options are less likely to cause skin irritations or breakouts, allowing you to focus on the road rather than any discomfort on your skin.

    Eco-Friendly Peloton: Environmentally Conscious Choice

    Cyclists understand the importance of preserving our planet's beauty, and mineral sunscreens align perfectly with this ethos.

    Mineral options are often reef-safe, meaning they don't contain harmful chemicals that can harm marine life and coral reefs when washed off during a refreshing post-ride dip. By choosing mineral sunscreen, you're not just protecting your skin but also contributing to the sustainability of our cycling destinations.

      The End Of The Ride

      So, fellow cyclists, it's time to wrap up our sun-soaked journey! We've explored the world of cycling, delved into the sunscreen habits of riders, and learned the importance of sun protection while chasing our two-wheeled dreams. But before we bid adieu, let's wrap it up.

      Pedaling under the sun is undeniably exhilarating, but it's crucial to remember that our skin needs some extra TLC. By slathering on sunscreen, donning sun-protective gear, and seeking shade when possible, we can conquer the roads and trails with style and safety. After all, why let sunburns and skin damage rain on our cycling parade?

      And remember, sun protection doesn't have to be a solo endeavor. Share your sun-smart tips with your cycling buddies, plan shaded routes together, and make it a fun and collective effort. Let's spread the sun-safe cycling revolution far and wide!

      Stay safe, stay sun-protected, and keep those wheels spinning!

      Written With Help From

      The Skin Cancer Foundation

      Canadian Cycling Magazine


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