By Jackie Smee
The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation, according to Cancer.org, and since cyclists spend so many hours outdoors, protection against UV rays is key. Of course, skin cancer is just one of many issues faced by committed athletes. The heat, wind, and of course, dehydration can take its toll on skin. Therefore, establishing a strict routine before braving your regular cycling workout is key if your skin is to remain young, plump, and unlined. Follow these tips for beautiful skin that glows from within.
Beautiful Skin Begins on the Inside
In order to perform at your best on the bike, feeding your body with top quality fuel is key. Study after study has espoused the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, with its quotient of lean proteins, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. This type of diet also highlights the avoidance of sugar – an ingredient that wreaks havoc on skin. High-sugar diets lead to the cross linkage of collagen (the basic building block of skin), resulting in loss of firmness and the development of lines. When taking into account your nutritional needs as a cyclist, think of your skin as well, feeding it with powerful antioxidants. These can include Vitamins A, C and E, alpha lipoic acid, green tea polyphenols, and resveratrol.
Following a Daily Skincare Routine
Especially in the summer months, skin can get excessively oily, especially when you are out cycling. As oil glands go into overdrive because of heat and dehydration, pores can become clogged and pimples can form as well. Start your morning routine with a gentle cleanser (use a cream-based cleanser instead of one that foams up if your skin is either dry or oily). Follow up with an organic toner or toning spray. The latter may contain ingredients like essential lavender oil (to calm skin) or citric oils (to energize the skin). The main role of a toner is to restore your skin’s Ph balance after cleansing. Next up is a moisturizer. Use one with ingredients that deeply moisturize, such as hyaluronic acid. One natural skin protector is algae, found in some creams and serums. It contains a vital ingredient called alguronic acid, which helps skin battle the free radicals that cause skin to age and form wrinkles. At night time, follow a similar routine (sans the sunscreen), considering a night cream with retinol if you are over 40, applying after a drop or two of facial oil, and your favorite targeted serum.
Choosing the right Sunscreen
After your moisturizer, apply a facial sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50. The sunscreen should be non-comedogenic (i.e. it should not clog pores or leave skin with an oily finish). Reapply sunscreen every couple of hours or more often if you are sweating profusely. Bring a small bottle of spray-on sunscreen for easy application.
A Luxury Mask in Time Saves Skin
If you have had a long cycling session under the sun, give your skin an extra surge of moisture via a quality mask. Some people with oily skin prefer black charcoal masks, which are particularly good at pulling impurities out from pores. However, make sure you use a tried-and-tested brand, since some black masks can tug at skin and hairs, making their removal unpleasant. For dry skin, go for a mask with high levels of anti-aging and hydrating ingredients like Vitamin B5, jojoba seed oil, and shea butter. Most masks are applied to skin and left for around 10 minutes, being removed afterwards with a wet face towel.
If you cycle frequently, the top priority when it comes to skincare should be sun protection, to stave off burns and sun cancer. However, keeping skin in optimal condition and avoiding excessive dryness or oiliness involves following a daily skin routine. Cleansing, toning, and moisturizing are all key, but so is giving skin an occasional treat – which may involve a mask treatment or better yet, a facial!
Image: Burst / Pexels
After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie Smee now writes and researches full time on anything to do with health, wellness and exercise. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues. Follow her biking guides here: https://bikesreviewed.com