Cyclists and skin cancer – Skintour


I love cycling, but how do I protect myself. It’s hot and I sweat!

I love cycling too, and we are often out for hours, and it’s difficult to control the exact timing of everything.  In fact we can’t.  I’ve gotten lost occasionally, and had to redirect for more than an hour.  Soooo…….at the risk of being unpopular, I’ll tell it like it is: we are really at risk for skin cancer unless were lucky enough to have a darker skin type that provides more natural protection.  Ok…I know you’re thinking that you’ll just get tan and that will do it.  But tanning is actually a sign of skin injury.  It’s your skin desperately trying to protect itself from all those UV rays.

Ideas for skin protection regular rides:

  • Use a high zinc sunscreen (10-20%) before you set out on all exposed areas.  If you think you might take off a shell and ride with just a jersey, then sunscreen your arms before you go.  Zinc protects against both UVA and UVB better than any other ingredient.
  • Put one of the powder or stick sunscreens (think zinc again) in your jersey or spare tire kit. When you take a break, use the powder on all exposed areas, especially your nose, and sides of neck and face.
  • Make sure your helmet has at least that little visor attached.  It doesn’t help a ton but protect more than if you don’t have it.
  • Try getting riding sunglasses that are a little larger and polarized to protect your eye area.
  • If it’s at all possible, wear long sleeves and long legs with a chamois.  Several companies make gear that covers more of the legs.
  • Most riders use gloves, and that also protects.
  • Longer socks are a good idea.

Ideas for really hot weather:

  • Make sure your sunscreen is water/sweat proof to 80 minutes like the MadisonMD Sport SS.  It’s also reef safe.
  • Cycle in a pull on sleeve even in hot weather. Your arms are more at risk than your legs usually, so you might want to try the sleeves.
  • If you just can’t, use the powder on your arms, face, neck and quads over your base sunscreen for sure.
  • Remember that on the bike there’s often a sensation of wind which makes us misread the amount of sun we’re getting.

Hope this helps, and have fun!




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