Cycling Sun Protection: 5 Ways to Care for your skin in the sun

Image of bike on beach sun shining reaturing Cycling Sun Protection

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There can be no doubt that we have to take cycling sun protection seriously.

Whether we are occasional or hardcore riders, the sun can have seriously damaging effects on our skin. Of course it’s not all bad news and there are some simple tips that can keep us safe in the sun.

5 ways to protect yourself from the sun in summer

  1. Cover up with SPF UPF protection clothing 
  2. Wear a peaked hat
  3. Wear sunscreen 
  4. Wear sunglasses
  5. Stay out of the sun where you can

Cycling sun protection #1: Use SPF and UPF clothing

SPF

Most people will have come across SPF at some time, if you are off to the beach you will no doubt have applied sunscreen with an SPF number on it. SPF is the abbreviation for Sun Protection Factor and the higher the number on the bottle or the tube, the higher the level of protection given.

The number on the tube or bottle can be used to work out the length of time you can be in the sun, although this is an approximation, if you multiply the number on the sunscreen by 10, that is the number of minutes you can stay in the sun. 

If the sunscreen has an SPF of 30,    30(SPF) X 10(Minutes) = 300 Minutes.

As we said before, this is an approximate value and it is strongly recommended that sunscreen is reapplied every 2 hours.

UPF

In addition to SPF we have UPF which stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor

Ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) can be harmful to the skin, causing premature aging, liver spots and can in some cases cause skin cancer.

UPF is a measurement of how much UV can penetrate a fabric, a fabric with a UPF of 50 will block 98% of the harmful rays, this significantly reduces your exposure. Only fabrics with a UPF of 30 or above will qualify for the Skin Cancer Foundations Seal of Approval. UPF ratings of 30 to 49 offer good protection and UPF 50 and above provide excellent protection.

The construction of the fabric of the garment is significant, the higher the thread count, the better the level of protection. Shiny fabrics are often most effective as they reflect the harmful rays, darker colors are also better at absorbing UV. 

Another consideration is the fit, most cyclists feel that the tighter the jersey the better. In some cases the jersey has been stretched and therefore opens up the threads and leaves gaps between them. This allows light to pass between them and increase the risk of burning.

Cycling Clothing with Sun Protection

There are literally dozens of products on the market that you can consider in each of the categories we have listed here. All of the products we have listed still give you a high level of protection and are what we consider to be the best of the bunch.

Leg Sleeves with UPF protection

Castelli UPF 50+ Light Leg Sleeves
$39.99
  • UPF 50
  • Available in Black
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08/16/2022 10:52 pm GMT

Arm Sleeves with UPF protection

Arm sleeves cover you from jersey level down to your wrists. This area, particularly the upper arm, is prone to exposure and a very common area for sunburning.

Castelli UPF 50+ Light Arm Sleeves
$39.99
  • UPF 50
  • Available in Black
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08/16/2022 11:26 pm GMT

Cycle Jersey with UPF protection

As we mentioned earlier, you can get your cycling jersey with a high UPF rating, remember to get the correct size and don’t overstretch the fabric as this can reduce the effectiveness.

BALEAF Men's Cycling Jerseys Tops Biking Shirts Short Sleeve with Pockets
$14.99
  • High UPF Rating
  • Pockets
  • Full Sizing Range
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08/17/2022 12:26 am GMT

Cycle shorts with UPF protection

Although you may think that your shorts spend a lot of time “in the shade” there are areas that can be exposed to high UV, cycle shorts with high UV protection should always be considered.

BALEAF Men's Bike Shorts 3D Padded UPF 50
$27.99
  • High UPF Rating 50+
  • Padded
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08/17/2022 01:06 am GMT

Cycling sun protection #2: Wear a peaked hat

Head protection is absolutely vital and if you wear a peaked cap, your eyes and upper head can be kept in shade.

Giro SPF30 Ultralight Adult Cycling Cap
$21.95
  • UPF 30
  • Lightweight
  • One Size
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08/16/2022 06:27 am GMT

Cycling sun protection #3: Wear sunglasses

There are hundreds if not thousands of sunglasses on the market, most of them are fashion accessories but there are some very serious players out there too.

Your sunglasses are vital to protest your eyes from the sun, wind, dust, bugs… the list goes on and on. Always check that your sunglasses give you suitable UV protection too, there are a number of great brands and models out there, the choice is yours but this is ours.

Oakley Men's OO9406 Sutro Polarized Shield Sunglasses
$173.00
  • Top Brand
  • Pro Choice
  • Unmatched Specification
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08/16/2022 07:32 am GMT

Conclusion

Without being too preacher-like, we have to take care of our bodies, that’s one of the reasons that we cycle.

We need to look after our skin too! The Aussies have been doing this for decades. Slip,Slop,Slap came out in the 1980’s and thae Australian public and sportsmen have been following its principles ever since. Wearing protective clothing may cost a few bucks more but the alternative is not very pleasant.

And remember! That sunscreen is only good for a couple of hours, so remember to reapply when you can.

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