Every motorcycle enthusiast spends the winter counting down the days until spring. Warmer weather means it’s time to ride again and nothing is better than that.
As amazing as it is to hit the road again, don’t get so caught up in the moment that you forget basic things like skin protection. Long exposure to the sun coupled with harsh wind, road grime, sweat, and dirt can all take a toll on your skin. Without proper skin care, these things can contribute to dryness, wrinkles, and even acne.
You live for the hours you spend on the road with your bike, but riding doesn’t consume your every moment. It’s important to take a few minutes before, during, and after each ride to care for yourself and your skin. Here are some simple skin care tips to keep your skin looking and feeling its best.
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Common Skin Care Concerns for Riders
You’ve spent countless hours with your custom cafe racer. From cleaning it or repairing it to riding it across the country, you know that bike better than you know your own body. Any changes to the way your motorcycle sounds, feels, or drives are immediately noticeable and it doesn’t take long for you to jump into action to resolve the issue.
What happens when there’s an issue with your own skin?
It’s easy to neglect things like skin care because it seems like you don’t have even a minute to spare. As a rider, however, your skin takes a beating which makes you even more prone to skin issues. Prolonged and repeated periods of sun exposure can dry out and damage your skin. Accumulating layers of dirt, sweat, and road grime can clog your pores and contribute to breakouts.
It really pays to take a few minutes out of your day to take proper care of your skin and it doesn’t have to cut into your riding time.
Tips Before, During, and After a Ride
Your motorcycle is everything and you never feel more alive than when it’s roaring beneath your body. You do everything you can to keep your bike in good condition from routine maintenance to employing safe driving strategies. You take care of your bike as if it were your own life, but that’s the thing – you need to actually take care of yourself too.
You want to spend every minute you can on the road, so it’s easy to neglect even simple things like basic skin care. Taking care of your skin doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complex, however. Here are some simple tips to protect and repair your skin before, during, and after a ride.
Protect Your Skin Before You Ride
There’s a lot to be done before you even hit the trail. From checking your bike to donning your gear, sometimes the prep takes longer than the actual ride. You never rush through the process of preparation for your bike, so why should you skimp when it comes to yourself?
Before you ride, take the time to protect your skin. Apply a generous layer of sunscreen SPF 35 or higher to all areas of exposed skin. Though it’s not true for everything, it’s certainly true in this case that more is better – SPF 50 is better than SPF 35. Don’t forget to apply it to your face and neck as well, ideally 30 minutes or more before you hit the road.
On top of wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, you should take simple steps to limit sun exposure. Wear sunglasses or a dark visor and consider wearing a bandana around your neck. Not only will it protect the back of your neck, but you can pull it up to cover your face as well.
Take a Skin Care Break During Your Ride
As much as you might want to ride all day and night, there comes a certain point when your motorcycle needs a break, usually for gas. Over time, you develop a feeling for how long you can go before you need to take that break, and you use that knowledge to plan accordingly.
When it’s time to take a riding break, take a few moments to take care of your skin.
Apply lip balm as needed to prevent or treat chapped lips. Look for ingredients like shea butter to hydrate dry lips and beeswax to lock in moisture. If you can find one that also includes SPF, all the better! Your lips can be sunburned just as easily as the rest of your skin.
Your riding break is also the perfect opportunity to reapply sunscreen.
Sunscreen should be applied every two hours during periods of sun exposure. If you find yourself sweating more than usual or you get wet during the ride, you may need to apply it sooner. Rather than applying another layer of sunscreen over sweaty skin, you may want to clean your face and neck with a facial wipe or a splash of water to remove sweat, dirt, and road grime before applying a fresh layer.
In addition to protecting your skin during the ride, you should also take care of your body by staying hydrated. Hydration bladders (like Camelbak) are great because you can sip throughout the ride and not have to worry about tying up your hands.
Develop a Post-Ride Skin Care Routine
When you get back home, the first thing you do is take care of your motorcycle. You clean it up and make sure it’s safely resting under the protective cover. Once you’ve gotten your bike settled, it’s time to take care of yourself and your skin.
Wash your face as soon as you can after your ride to remove all of that dirt, sweat, and grime. The longer it sits on your face, the more likely it is to clog your pores and contribute to breakouts. Use a cleanser appropriate for your skin type and follow it with your preferred moisturizer. If your skin is particularly dry or sun-damaged, consider a hydrating face mask for an added level of skin repair.
After washing and moisturizing your face, it’s the perfect time to apply supplemental skin care products. Apply aloe vera in the case of sunburn and other targeted products to address issues with acne, wrinkles, or sensitive skin.
As a final step before you head in for the night, don’t forget to wash your helmet pads and other gear – anything that comes into contact with your skin during a ride. Choose detergent made for sensitive skin just to reduce the risk of irritation later on.
What to Look for in Skin Care Products
Skin care is always important, whether you’re a rider or not. That being said, an motorcyclist faces some unique skin challenges that require specialized attention and care.
When it comes to shopping for skin care products, the most important thing you can do is choose products appropriate for your skin type. If you have dry skin, products that protect your skin’s natural barrier and support hydration are important. For acne-prone skin, look for noncomedogenic products that won’t clog your pores. When choosing moisturizers, it doesn’t hurt to choose something with SPF to give your skin that added layer of protection even before you hit the trail.
In addition to checking for certain ingredients to support your skin type, you should also be mindful of ingredients you want to avoid. Artificial preservatives can trigger allergies and certain thickeners like PEG (polyethylene glycol) can actually reduce your skin’s moisture. Alcohol dries out your skin as well and synthetic fragrances can exacerbate issues like allergies and skin sensitivity.
You don’t necessarily need to become a skin care expert but taking the time to make smart decisions when shopping for skin care products will show in your skin.
Developing a Skin Care Routine
Your skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be consistent. Take the time to find the products that are right for your skin type and your individual skin concerns then use them regularly.
Here are some simple tips to develop a daily skin care routine:
- Always start by washing your face – use a cleanser when needed or simply warm water if you washed off the day’s dirt before bed.
- Consider including a toner in your routine. In addition to balancing your skin pH and helping control acne, it also helps remove excess dirt and traces of oil.
- Apply serums (if desired) to address specific skin concerns like sun damage or anti-aging.
- Include spot treatments if necessary to target blemishes or dark spots and gently tap them onto your skin instead of rubbing them in.
- Apply a layer of moisturizer appropriate for your skin type – a lightweight moisturizer won’t make your skin greasy, though you should consider one with added SPF.
- Never skip sunscreen, even if you use a moisturizer with SPF (it’s unlikely to be higher than SPF 15 and you need a minimum of SPF 30 on a daily basis).
Keeping your face clean and moisturized is an absolute necessity, but additional products like acne cream and anti-aging serums are up to your discretion. Take some time to consider your primary skin concerns and develop your routine around resolving those issues.
A Final Tip
Nothing comes between you and your motorcycle, at least as much as you can help it. The thing is, you don’t have to choose between taking care of your bike and taking care of yourself.
Basic skin care is essential if you want to look and feel your best, so take these simple tips to heart. Something as quick and easy as washing your face after putting away your gear can go a long way toward preventing breakouts. After-sun care is important as well to avoid the long-term effects of sun damage – all you need is a little aloe!
Taking care of your skin doesn’t make you less of a man or less of a rider. In fact, it makes you more responsible and it can be considered an investment in your future. So, throw on an extra layer of sunscreen and start implementing healthier skin habits with your next ride.