How important is sun protection while riding?

Many people prefer to go out for a ride when the weather is nice. Sunlight can help the human body to produce vitamin D, which can make people feel refreshed. Outdoor activities on sunny days have many benefits for our mental health and physical health, but we should also pay special attention to sun protection when riding on sunny days. Excessive exposure to the sun can do a lot of damage to our skin. To truly enjoy the great outdoors, don't forget to protect your skin from sun damage.

Long-term exposure to the sun can easily cause a variety of skin problems, such as prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause skin aging, destroying the collagen and elastin that make the skin structurally intact, resilient and elastic. It manifests as wrinkled and sagging skin, altered skin pigmentation, telangiectasias (small, spider-like expansions of capillaries), rough skin, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Light-skinned people are more affected by photoaging than dark-skinned people. Because melanin is the body's natural sunscreen, light-colored skin contains less melanin than darker skin. So dark-skinned people have a natural advantage in resisting photoaging.

Some people find that their skin is red and even painful when they return indoors because they are not well protected. This is called a "sunburn". This is because the capillaries in the dermis dilate, allowing more blood to enter the surface of the skin.

At the cellular level, the cells of the stratum corneum go into a state of shock, stopping the secretion of natural compounds containing moisturizing ingredients. The resulting dry "fragile layer" gradually moves up through the stratum corneum, eventually causing the entire layer of skin above it to slough off. Even with low levels of sun exposure, frequent sun exposure can dry out the skin.

Not only does UV radiation prevent cells from synthesizing proteins, it also damages the DNA of genes. Mutations in genes eventually lead to skin cancers, the most serious of which is malignant melanoma.

British Skin Foundation spokesman dermatologist Dr Derrick Phillips put it bluntly: "Prolonged exposure to the sun's UV rays while cycling increases the risk of skin cancer." Therefore, sun protection is especially important for those who need to ride for a long time.


Sunscreen Basics

Daily sunscreen requires a 30SPF+ sweat-proof and waterproof sunscreen every two hours. A skin moisturizer can be applied before sunscreen to help prevent cracking.

But in fact, for sun protection, physical sun protection is more effective than chemical sun protection. You can wear cycling clothes, or you can directly wear your daily jacket, or if you are afraid of heat, just put on sunscreen sleeves and wear a sunscreen mask. As long as it can cover your skin, it can bring sunscreen effect.

Secondly, many people now like to buy sunscreen sleeves. A little trick is that black or dark sunscreen sleeves will provide more sun protection than light-colored sleeves. This is the result of many people's tests. And the densely woven sleeves will be more sun protection than the sparsely woven sleeves, because when you put on the sleeves, the sunlight can actually penetrate through the gap after the sleeves are stretched, so the sleeves with less elasticity are more sun protection, but its disadvantage is that it is easier to make you feel hot. Therefore, you can choose a sunscreen tool that is more suitable for you through your own preferences.

Also, don't forget your head and neck when considering how to block out the sun. A hat or bandana with a brim underneath the helmet can be purchased to help protect the head from the sun. 

Early signs of melanoma

Every rider should be checked frequently for signs of melanoma, especially those with light skin and/or white hair. Here are the caveats:

A: Asymmetry: One half of the mole is not the same as the other half.

B: The edges of the mole are rough or uneven, and the outline may appear blurred, blending into the surrounding skin.

C: Uneven Color: There may be shades of black, brown, or areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue.

D: The diameter is larger than that of soybeans, reaching more than 6mm.

E: The appearance of moles changes over weeks and months.

If you find the above situation, please go to the hospital for further examination.

We should avoid prolonged exposure to strong sunlight during outdoor activities. At the same time, remember to take protective measures, wear long-sleeved sun protection clothing, and use sunscreen products with a high SPF. These are all ways to reduce the risk of skin cancer and help avoid photoaging. In addition to preventing trauma, but also pay attention to diet maintenance. Some foods contain natural substances that can reduce the risk of skin cancer; eating more fruits and vegetables can have antioxidant effects.

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