Bike and Glow: 7 Essential Skincare Tips for City Cyclists

Photo of author

Ashley Brown

Health, Other


Disclosure: I may receive referral fees from purchases made through links on BicycleVolt. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hey there, gorgeous cyclists! Have you ever noticed that after a refreshing ride through the bustling city, your skin sometimes feels like it could use a little extra TLC? Well, you’re not alone! As much as we love zipping around on our bikes, city cycling can expose our skin to pollution, UV rays, and harsh weather conditions. So, to keep your skin looking as radiant as your smile, we’ve put together the ultimate skincare guide for urban cyclists. Get ready to bike and glow, ladies!

Cleanse Gently: Your Skin’s First Line of Defense

To keep your skin looking fresh, it’s essential to start and end your day with a gentle cleanser that removes dirt, pollution, and sweat without stripping your skin of its natural oils. Look for a mild, pH-balanced cleanser that’s free of harsh chemicals and fragrances. Our personal favorite is the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, which is packed with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to maintain your skin’s moisture barrier. Remember, ladies, being gentle is key – no need to scrub your face like you’re cleaning a bike chain!

Cleansing is the foundation of any skincare routine, and for city cyclists, it’s even more crucial. As you ride through the urban streets, your skin is exposed to a cocktail of pollutants, dirt, and sweat. To prevent breakouts and irritation, cleanse your face both in the morning and evening. In the morning, a gentle cleanse helps remove any oils and impurities that built up overnight. At night, it’s essential to cleanse away the day’s grime, including pollution particles that can clog pores and cause inflammation.

When choosing a cleanser, opt for a sulfate-free, pH-balanced formula, which respects your skin’s natural barrier. Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), can be harsh and strip your skin of essential moisture. In addition to the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser we mentioned earlier, another great option is the Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser, which is specifically formulated for sensitive skin and is free of common irritants like fragrance and parabens.

Key points:

  • Cleanse morning and evening
  • Use a sulfate-free, pH-balanced formula
  • Remove pollutants, dirt, and sweat
READ THIS NEXT 5 Proven Strategies to Avoid Cycling Sunburn on your MTB Ride

Exfoliate Regularly: Buff Away the Bike Grime

Just like how we need to keep our bikes clean and well-maintained, our skin also needs a little extra attention to stay in top condition. Exfoliating once or twice a week helps remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, keeping your skin fresh and healthy.

For a fun DIY exfoliating scrub, mix equal parts honey and ground coffee. The honey soothes and hydrates your skin, while the coffee grounds gently buff away dirt and impurities. Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of coffee?

Regular exfoliation is crucial for maintaining a smooth, glowing complexion, especially for city cyclists. It helps remove the buildup of old cells, pollution particles, and excess oil that can clog pores and lead to breakouts. There are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical.

Physical exfoliants, like the coffee and honey scrub we mentioned earlier, use granules or textured surfaces to manually slough off dead skin cells. Remember to be gentle and avoid over-exfoliating, as it can cause irritation and even micro-tears in your skin. Another fantastic physical exfoliant is the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, which uses rice-based enzymes to gently polish the skin.

Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, use acids like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to dissolve dead skin cells and unclog pores. For example, the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid contains salicylic acid, which penetrates deep into your pores to break down excess sebum and impurities. Chemical exfoliants can be a gentler option for those with sensitive skin, as they don’t involve scrubbing.

Key points:

  • Choose between physical and chemical exfoliants
  • Remove buildup of dead skin cells and impurities
  • Prevent clogged pores and breakouts
READ THIS NEXT No Shower, No Problem: Staying Clean and Hygienic on Your Bikepacking Trip

Moisturize Daily: Quench Your Skin’s Thirst

Cycling through the city can leave your skin feeling parched, so it’s important to use a lightweight, non-greasy moisturizer to maintain hydration levels. Look for one with hyaluronic acid, like the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, which acts like a sponge to hold water and keep your skin plump and dewy. Remember to apply moisturizer right after cleansing, when your skin is still slightly damp, to lock in that hydration. Your skin will thank you for it!

Hydration is key to keeping your skin healthy and supple, and that’s especially true for city cyclists who face the drying effects of wind and pollution. Moisturizing daily helps reinforce your skin’s natural barrier, preventing the loss of water and protecting it from environmental stressors.

When choosing a moisturizer, look for ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, which help attract and retain moisture in your skin. For those with oily or acne-prone skin, opt for a non-comedogenic formula that won’t clog your pores. The Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream is an excellent choice, as it’s lightweight, oil-free, and perfect for sensitive skin.

Don’t forget about the skin around your eyes, which is thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face. Use a dedicated eye cream or gel to keep this area hydrated and protected. One of our top picks is the Olay Eyes Deep Hydrating Eye Gel, which contains hyaluronic acid and cucumber extract to soothe and moisturize the eye area.

For those with drier skin, consider adding a facial oil to your routine. Rosehip oil, for example, is rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants that help nourish and repair your skin’s barrier. The Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil is a fantastic option, as it’s lightweight and easily absorbed, making it perfect for use under your moisturizer or even mixed with it for an extra hydration boost.

Key points:

  • Hydrate with ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid
  • Use a dedicated eye cream or gel
  • Consider adding a facial oil for drier skin
READ THIS NEXT 9 Strategies to Manage Sweat on Hot Summer Bike Rides

Apply Sunscreen: Your Secret Weapon Against UV Rays

We all know that a healthy dose of sunshine can do wonders for our mood, but it’s crucial to protect your skin from harmful UV rays as you cycle through the city. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, like the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Mineral Sunscreen. It’s lightweight, non-greasy, and perfect for daily use. Don’t forget to apply it 30 minutes before heading out and reapply every two hours or after sweating heavily. Remember, ladies, sun protection is a must, even on cloudy days!

Key points:

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
  • Reapply every two hours during prolonged sun exposure
  • Choose a water-resistant formula for sweaty rides
READ THIS NEXT How To Carry A Water Bottle While Biking

Wear Protective Gear: Shield Your Skin on the Streets

City cycling can be a bit of a battlefield when it comes to debris, dust, and pollution. So, suit up with the right protective gear to keep your skin looking its best. Don a helmet with visor to shield your face, and invest in a pair of UV-protective sunglasses to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them. If air pollution is a concern in your city, consider wearing a pollution mask that filters out harmful particles. Stay safe and stylish, ladies!

In addition to helmets and sunglasses, there are other ways to protect your skin and avoid sunburn while cycling through the city. For instance, consider wearing long-sleeve jerseys and full-length leggings made from moisture-wicking, UPF-rated fabrics. These garments not only protect your skin from the sun but also help keep you cool and dry during your rides.

When it comes to cycling sunglasses, opt for wraparound styles that provide maximum coverage and protection from UV rays, wind, and debris. Look for lenses with UV400 protection, which blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays. The Tifosi Schwae are a popular choice among cyclists for their lightweight design, excellent coverage, and UV protection.

If you’re wearing a pollution mask, ensure it fits snugly and comfortably around your face to create a proper seal. Masks with adjustable straps and a nose clip are ideal for a customized fit. The Airinum Urban Air Mask 2.0 is a stylish and functional option, featuring a five-layer filter that blocks PM2.5 particles, pollen, and other pollutants.

Key points:

  • Use a helmet with a visor and UV-protective sunglasses
  • Wear long-sleeve jerseys and full-length leggings made from UPF-rated fabrics
  • Consider a pollution mask for air quality concerns
READ THIS NEXT How To Carry More Water On A Bike

Stay Hydrated: Quench Your Thirst, Inside and Out

You’ve heard it a million times, but we’ll say it again – drink plenty of water! Staying hydrated is essential not only for your cycling performance but also for maintaining healthy, radiant skin.

Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. For an extra boost, infuse your water with fruits, like lemon, cucumber, or strawberries, for a refreshing and flavorful twist. Pro tip: Invest in an insulated water bottle to keep your drink cool during those long, sunny rides.

Key points:

  • Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day
  • Infuse water with fruits for added flavor
  • Use an insulated water bottle for on-the-go hydration
READ THIS NEXT Water Bottle Cage For Full Suspension Bike

Incorporate Antioxidants: The Superheroes of Skincare

Environmental stressors like pollution and UV rays can lead to the production of free radicals, which can cause premature skin aging. To combat these pesky skin saboteurs, incorporate skincare products with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and niacinamide. These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and protect your skin from environmental damage. One of our favorites is the Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster, which combines vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid for a powerful skin-protecting punch.

Adding antioxidants to your skincare routine not only helps protect your skin from environmental damage but also promotes a brighter, more even complexion. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fade hyperpigmentation and boost collagen production. Try incorporating a vitamin C serum, like the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, which combines the benefits of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid for maximum efficacy.

Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is another fantastic antioxidant to include in your skincare arsenal. It has a wide range of benefits, from reducing inflammation and redness to improving skin elasticity and minimizing the appearance of pores. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is an affordable and effective option for those looking to add niacinamide to their routine.

Don’t forget to nourish your skin from within by consuming antioxidant-rich foods too, such as berries, dark chocolate, and green tea. These foods help to neutralize free radicals and support overall skin health.

Key points:

  • Use skincare products with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and niacinamide
  • Protect skin from free radicals and environmental damage
  • Consume antioxidant-rich foods for added benefits
READ THIS NEXT Strap On Water Bottle Holder For Bike


There you have it, beautiful bike commuters! With these seven essential skincare tips, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining healthy, glowing skin while you pedal through the urban jungle. Remember, consistency is key – make these skincare habits a regular part of your routine, and your skin will be as radiant as your love for cycling. So, hop on your bike, feel the wind in your hair, and ride confidently, knowing that you’re taking excellent care of your skin. Don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized advice tailored to your unique skin type and lifestyle. Happy cycling, and keep glowing!

Leave a Comment