April 14, 2016

Sun Safety for Cyclists: How to Keep Your Skin Safe & Prevent Pre Mature Ageing

Angie Buonassisi
# min read
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The Realities of Cycling & Sun Exposure

Let's talk about an important topic that is especially relevant for cyclists, and even more prevalent for those of us who hope to 1. avoid skin cancer and 2. look younger for longerSUN SAFETY.In partnership with WOWride Cycling, and with the help of top of the line sun safety products from Zo Medical Skin Care and Sugoi, Fiore Skin Clinic is educating riders about the potential dangers of sun exposure and providing simple protective measures you should be taking to protect against sun damage while on the road.Enjoy all the sun safety tips and don't forget to check out our Sun Safety Infographic for Cyclists on Pinterest.Cycling is amazingWith the wind at your face and the pavement zipping by you in a blur, you haven't felt so exhilarated in a long, long while. And while many cyclists consider cycling to be a "sun safe" exercise, some simple math might prove otherwise: if you spend 3 hours/week cycling from May to September, you're spending a total of up to 60 hours in the sun! And because concrete is a reflective surface, that's a lot of (potentially harmful) sun exposure.So while you might not feel like you aren't "a sun person", as a cyclist, you actually are.

Sun Hazards from Cycling

Danger #1:Â Skin Cancer

The obvious hazard from sun exposure, skin cancer, is something we hear about often, but many of us don't consider this to be realistic threat. "When we are on the road", says "Angie Kozina", WOWride Cycling member and owner of Fiore Skin Clinic, "we don't feel the sensation of burning sun because of the windchill factor."

Solution: Sun Screen

The best solution is to use sunscreen. But not just any sunscreen! Be sure to use a product with a Skin Cancer Foundation rating, like Oclipse 30 by ZO Skin Health, for the best protection. You should apply your sun protection 30 minutes before cycling, and reapply every 2 hours when sweating. Also be sure to protect all areas exposed to the sun, from the tips of your ears that are exposed outside of your helmet to the back of your neck, arms, hands, and legs.Vancouver based Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Buonassisi, an avid cyclist, says the risk of skin cancer is real for those who do sports like cycling and golfing. "I surgically remove hundreds of skin cancers per year from people's ears, noses, cheeks and chests", says Dr. Buonassisi, "those hours of sun add up over the years, and the risk of developing skin cancer multiplies after having just one sun burn."

Danger #2: Cataracts

This is probably a sun-related danger that you haven't considered much before: cataracts. But it's a danger we should all consider, especially us cyclists. The most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40, cataracts are also the principal cause of blindness in the world. While research still leaves room as to why our eyes change as we age, it's been proven that ultraviolet radiation from the sun is one of the main risk factors for developing cataracts.

Solution: Cycling Glasses

The best solution for protecting against cataracts? Make sure you make it an unbreakable habit to wear your cycling glasses, even when it's overcast outside! Not only will cycling glasses protect your eyes from flying objects from the road, they will also increase road condition visibility and protect your sensitive eyes from damaging UV rays.

Danger #3: Pre-Mature Aging

A more prevalent result from over-exposure in the sun? Signs of sun exposure that we call "pre-mature aging." This relates to fine lines, wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation (sun spots) as well as overall sagging of the skin and a leathery texture. These common (and always unappreciated) visual cues can be challenging to reverse and always make us look much older than our true age. And the reality is that sun exposure causes 90% of skin aging. Did you hear that? This is totally preventable aging that makes us look older than we are.

Must Do & Have Sun Safe Tips for Cyclist

Yes, sunscreen helps here. But even better? Physical protective cycling gear that will reflect the sun rays and protect your skin without the necessity of reapplying sunscreen to these areas. Here are some must have sun safe parts of your cycling kit and sun safe habits.

  1. Get some UV-protective arm bands like these ones from Sugoiwhich not only wick up that had earned sweat, but have an SPF 50 rating. We've all been enjoying a long ride, only to realize that hours have gone by since we applied sun screen. The temptation to continue on can be strong, as can the tendency to avoid reaching into one's back pocket for sun screen. These arm bands are amazing: you can easily pull them up or down when needed, but the reality is that they look so good and are so light weight, why would you want to.
  2. Wear gloves to protect your hands, which serve the dual purpose of protecting your hands in event of a fall, and protecting your skin from the sun. We love these WOMEN'S RC PRO GLOVES, which are comfortable and effective.
  3. Invest in a helmet with a visor to shade your face
  4. Use an effective sun screen like ZO Oclipse 30 - apply 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours or more often if sweating [shopify embed_type="product" shop="fioreskin.myshopify.com" product_handle="zo-skin-health-oclipse-sunscreen-primer-spf-30" show="all"]
  5. Carry a travel size sun screen with you at all times while on your bike, and put it somewhere it can be easily reached, like your Bento (handy dandy little bag that sits on your frame close to your handle bars - ie no more reaching behind while you ride)
  6. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to your face, ears, back of the neck and all other obvious areas (ie everything that sees the sun)
  7. Most of all...have fun and enjoy your cycling passion.

There you have it, cycler: all the knowledge you need to keep cycling in complete sun-safe style.Photos: Unsplash, Unsplash,

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