As healing as it is to be out riding in the natural world, as an esthetician I am aware of how the elements can effect the skin of a cyclist. I’m definitely not one to condone indoor cycling so I’m going to address some of those skin care needs so you can keep your largest organ happy on the saddle all year ‘round in the great outdoors.
1. Moisturize. The wind and cold a cyclist comes into contact with can cause the skin to become dry, dehydrated, and cracked, so it’s important to keep the skin extremely moisturized.
- The first step to keeping the skin hydrated is to drink lots of water.
- You’ll want a good moisturizer to put on the skin as well. Oils for the face and body are quite popular right now and are great for winter since skin has a tendency to get dry in the colder months. However if your skin is feeling particularly oily, water base moisturizers are the way to go.
- Silicone based products are really great for areas exposed to the wind because they create a protective barrier over the skin to seal in moisture and prevent water loss, perfect for the winter winds.
- Chamois cream, a rich moisturizer for the bum prevents chaffing and saddle sores.
In the colder months I like to protect the skin on my face with this UA balaclava. It’s nice because it has a drop chin so you can easily pull it down below the chin or around the neck when in and out of places. You’ll also want to protect the eyes with goggles or non-prescription big lens glasses.
2. Get your wax on. Forgo razor burn, bumps, and breakouts that make chaffing worse and give me a call to get those hair-ridden body parts waxed. Hair that is waxed grows in much slower, as opposed to shaving, which means less maintenance in your shower regimen. Waxing regularly also thins and softens hair, resulting in silky smooth skin, making your rides oh, so aero. Just remember to exfoliate, which brings me to my next point.
3. Exfoliate. This is going to remove dead surface cells that can trap hair under the skin causing ingrown hairs i.e., saddle sores. Exfoliating is important everywhere on the body but especially in the groin area where the skin is sensitive, hair is dense and the friction is in full swing whilst pedaling a bicycle. Removing dead surface cells also keeps your skin looking young and healthy. Its best to use physical exfoliants, such as sugar and salt scrubs as well as chemical exfoliants, using acids and enzymes that will continue to work for you throughout the day.
4. Benzoyl Peroxide. If you should happen to develop a saddle sore, treat it right away. Keep it clean and dry and apply 10% Benzoyl Peroxide/Acne treatment twice daily until it has subsided.
5. Embrocation. This is a liniament that includes warming agents such as capsicum from peppers to increase circulation and warm the skin. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s on the list. Check it out. Embrocation works better on hairless skin, yet another reason to get your wax on.
6. Clean skin. This seems obvious enough. Keep the skin clean to prevent infection and irritation. Always have wet wipes on hand to freshen up. Also, soaking 10 minutes in a warm bath will soothe muscles and detoxify the body.
7. Massage oils. This will help soften the muscles and work out any knots while simultaneously rehydrating the skin, making it feel better.
8. Sun Protection. Get your vitamin D but don’t get burned. The sun is something fierce and in large amounts it can wreak havoc on your skin, causing skin cancer and premature aging of the skin
- Eating a diet rich in colorful whole foods will help give your skin natural skin protection from the sun’s rays. Click here for more info.
- Clothing is going to be your best form of external protection against UV radiation. Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
- Sunscreen. Wear at least a SPF 15 on exposed skin and reapply every 2 hours. For ladies, SPF cosmetics are a double win.
- If a sunburn gets the best of you, get out the aloe vera.