SunglassesThe eyes may not be skin, but they still get a good thrashing from the sun’s rays! Sun glasses can be cheap or expensive, obviously the higher the quality, the higher the price. A quality pair of glasses can eliminate Ultraviolet Light (UV) that would normally damage the cornea and retina. Protection from intense light will eliminate squinting and prevent damage to the retina, with a good pair of sunglasses blocking 97% of light from entering the eyes. Polarization exists to eliminate glare that can hide objects, thus improving safety whilst on your bike. The colour of your lenses will affect the clarity of your vision as well contrast, making a higher quality pair of sunnies a safer option for you as well as others.
The top side of the arms are highly exposed to the sun when riding day in and day out and deserve good protection from the suns harsh rays. Covering up with UV protective clothing is always the best way to go if possible. Arm warmers are a great addition to your cycling jersey to keep the UV rays off your skin!
Keep the sun off your face with a visor for your helmet! One of the hardest hit areas of the face are the forehead and nose. The more exposure the skin has to the sun, the more it thickens and hardens as a result, leaving you with leathery and wrinkly skin as you get older. As well as sun protection, a visor will also help to keep the sun out of your eyes for better visibility. Visors can come as removable additions to your helmet, this way they can be added on or taken off according to the requirements of the time of day you ride.
Leg warmers are great for keeping the sun off the legs when the weather is still cool, but not cool enough for full length knicks. When on a bike, the tops of the thighs and knees are in the direct path of the sun’s rays, so it is important that they be protected from sunburn and, sunspots and ageing. As well as protection from the sun, they also have reflective logos for better visibility, assisting motorist to spot you when riding during times of the day when light is low.
When all else fails, slop on some sunscreen! Sun screen will give full protection for the face all year round, as well as being great for the neck, hands, arms and legs in the summer months, when it is simply too hot to be wearing loads of sun protection gear! Sunscreen can be carried with you and reapplied when needed, it is inexpensive, it slows ageing, prevents skin cancer. The titanium oxide component in sunscreen leads to increased skin health by protecting skin proteins such as elastin, keratin and collagen from the damaging sun.
It is easy to think that sun protection is only achieved in sunscreen, but it can come in many other different ways that will protect your skin. Avoid the harsh effects of the sun that cause wrinkles, sunspots (which are a result of a particular area of skin being unable to produce melanin to absorb UV rays) and painful sunburn. Practicing good sun safety is also important for setting a good example for your family and community whenever you are out on the road or enjoying a day out on your bikes as a family. But don't be too afraid of the sun, as daily sun exposure is important for your body to be able to produce vitamin D, which functions in the absorption of calcium and phosphate for strong bones and teeth (as well as other functions). A healthy and happy skin is a great way to stay looking and feeling good. So get out there on your bikes and live the healthy outdoor lifestyle, always remembering to look after your eyes and skin and find a way to protect yourself sensibly from those UV rays.
Steve is a cycling enthusiast from Brisbane, Australia. He likes to get out on his Apollo mountain bike at every opportunity and says that sun safety for cyclists should be considered just as important as wearing a helmet.