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How-To Arrange Your Hair and Protect Your Skin While Biking

Natalie+wearing+a+low+ponytail+hairstyle+for+her+bike+ride.
Natalie Duminiak
Natalie wearing a low ponytail hairstyle for her bike ride.

When going bike riding, it is important to consider one’s skin and hair. Without protection, exposure to sunlight can cause damage to one’s skin, eyes, and immune system. Similarly, leaving hair down when riding can risk injury due to the inability to see. It can be difficult to clearly see the surroundings when hair is flowing over one’s face. However, there are multiple actions that can be taken to have a safe ride.

An easy solution is to use sunscreen. It is recommended for all cyclists to use waterproof or sweatproof sunscreens. This is due to the fact that when biking, one tends to work up a sweat, causing the sunscreen to come off quickly and need reapplication. Along with sweatproof and waterproof sunscreen, sports sunscreen is also available. Sports sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 40 or 80 minutes, which is good for longer bike rides. While the argument that sunscreens cause acne breakouts can be true, different types of sunscreens can be purchased to avoid irritation to the skin. When buying the next sunscreen for oneself, look for sunscreens that don’t include the comedogenic ingredient. This ingredient causes pores to clog.

Lotions, sprays, and sticks are the most common forms of sunscreens. Lotions offer good coverage. Sprays are easier and quicker to apply but are often toxic if the spray is inhaled. They both come in various SPF levels, depending on how long you plan to be in the sun. Julie MacDade, a casual biker, prefers to use lotion sunscreen. “It is better coverage to protect my skin,” she stated, followed by, “I have very fair skin, so I get sunburned very easily.” It is advised to have sunscreen reapplied to the skin every two hours. However, two hours may be too long if one is sweating or excessively wiping one’s face. On the next bike ride one takes, make sure to have handy a small travel-sized sunscreen tube. This may not be the case if one is indoors and out of the sunlight. To get full coverage, apply sunscreen to all areas of the body 15 minutes before one starts their bike ride. Letting the sunscreen sink into one’s skin for 15 minutes allows the sunscreen to bind to the skin and deliver maximum protection. Don’t overlook areas that easily get missed, such as around the lips and nose. Make sure to get the back of the neck as well, as that spot is often in direct contact with the sun when biking and can be more difficult to apply by oneself.

One can try some fun hairstyles that work with bike helmets to amplify one’s bike ride. The hairstyles can be as simple as a low ponytail or bun, but one can add some braids to step it up a notch. These hairstyles only take up to 10 minutes to construct, so while letting the sunscreen sink into one’s skin, try a new hairstyle! The only products that are needed are a wide-tooth comb, some hair ties, and possibly some bobby pins for thicker hair. It is not recommended to use gel or hairspray. When asking a hairstylist, Luly Joa, if she uses gel in the hair to slick it back for a bike ride, she says, “No, I don’t recommend using gel in your hair because it has chemicals that are not good for your hair.” However, hairspray isn’t any better. MacDade states, “Styling products attract bugs,” which is a whole different problem that few want to deal with.

So, consider testing some of these recommendations when going out for a bike ride! Let us know if these tips and tricks work for you in the comments. Natalie and Lia tried these suggestions for themselves, and they worked wonderfully. Natalie hasn’t had one strip of hair on her face, and Lia hasn’t gotten sunburned on any parts of her body!

Sources:
https://www.evo.com/guides/bike-helmet-size-fit
https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bicycle-helmet.html#:~:text=Road%20bike%20helmets%20are%20designed,backward%20than%20a%20road%20rider.
https://safestreets.vermont.gov/sites/safestreets/files/documents/22-071%20CC_WatchForMe_BikeHelmet_RackCard_R1_0.pdf
https://www.bicycling.com/health-nutrition/a44390128/which-spf-is-best/
https://www.babobotanicals.com/blogs/news/sport-sunscreen#:~:text=Rather%20than%20wearing%20regular%20sunscreen,wrong%20with%20some%20sports%20sunblock.
https://www.sharpbicycle.com/articles/tips-for-protecting-yourself-from-the-sun-pg461.htm
https://www.palmpineskincare.com/blogs/articles/cycling-and-sunscreen
https://www.people4ocean.com/blogs/blog/does-sunscreen-cause-acne#:~:text=Many%20sunscreens%20do%20cause%20acne,are%20what%20we%20call%20comedogenic.
https://www.liv-cycling.com/global/campaigns/best-hairstyles-for-biking/19001
https://prose.com/blog/wash-hair-after-workout.php#:~:text=Expert%20take%3A%20%E2%80%9CFor%20those%20who,week%20for%20high%2Dintensity%20exercises.
https://www.plasticsandderm.com/media/AOL-Sensitive-Suncscreens-Mar-2024.pdf
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/sunscreen-and-your-morning-routine#:~:text=Generally%2C%20sunscreen%20should%20be%20reapplied,desk%20just%20to%20be%20safe.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/sun-safety

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About the Contributors
Natalie Duminiak, Student Writer
Natalie Duminiak, Grade 12. Interests/hobbies include Mini-THON, NHS, playing violin, reading, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends. Natalie plans to attend college and major in English.
Lia Peralta Joa, Student Writer
Lia Peralta Joa, Grade 12. Interests/hobbies include dancing, theater, NHS, the Pennridge Student Council, going to amusement parks, traveling, playing board games, self-care, and hanging out with friends and family. Lia hopes to obtain her cosmetology and esthetician license and open a salon. She plans to major in broadcast journalism at Penn State University as well.

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