When riding a bike, it is natural that your face will become red. However, there are plenty of ways to combat this problem. Some of these methods can be carried out at home before the ride while others can be used during the ride. Also, there are tricks that may not help to prevent redness in the face but will make it disappear pretty quickly. For the sake of a little effort, your skin could be saved from a lot of pain and severe redness. Here are five must-use tips when planning to do mountain bike riding.
Do some warming up exercise
It is important to stretch your body and do some warming up exercise before riding. Besides reducing muscle tension and increasing circulation, taking time for a gentle stretch after your workout also allows you to effectively cool down your body temperature and in turn, diminish excess redness. Make time to gradually reduce your heart rate at the end of your workout. Relax yourself and your face would not grow red severely in hurry.
Eat Sensibly Before You Leave
The first part can take place at home and this will be by eating food that will not affect your temperature and blood vessels. By cutting out spicy food, such as curries and chilies, for a week before the ride takes place, and replacing them with things such as apple, melon and spinach, you will find that your skin is in a much better condition even before you start riding your bike. This alone will not prevent redness, but it is a step in the right direction.
Drink plenty of water to cool yourself
Drink cool liquids before, during and after physical activity. This is especially important during hot and humid weather, when you plan to exercise for long periods, or if you sweat excessively during activity. If you become dehydrated, your body temperature will increase and your redness will worsen. Just by keeping cool you will find that your face is not very red. Drink plenty of water, and while this could bring about its own problems, it will leave your skin soft and pink. Not only will it deal with redness of the face, but it will help your whole body stay hydrated.
Exercise in Cooler Environments
Going for a run under the hot, summer sun may seem like a good idea (you're finally out of the office!), but higher temperatures will only make matters worse for your skin. Dr. Weiser suggests exercising in a cooler environment and drinking plenty of fluids in order to reduce facial redness. So, pack a cold water bottle and head to the gym instead of opting for your outdoor workout routine on those extra hot days.
Exercise in the coolest conditions possible to prevent overheating. Choose early morning or evening hours for outdoor workouts when temperatures are usually lower, and opt for indoor exercise during the hottest months of the year.
Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing
Don’t look down upon the clothing when riding. Choose a light weigh, loose-fitting cloth carefully and it would allow your skin to breathe and to prevent trapping heat between your skin and clothing. Leave your head and hands uncovered, when possible.
Take Intermittent Breaks
If you need to head straight back to work after your lunch-break workout, try incorporating miniature breaks during and after your workout. "Doing lower intensity exercises and intermittently taking breaks will bring down your heart rate to help relieve redness before it gets out of hand," says Dr. Weiser.
Stop exercising and take a break in the air conditioning or shade if you begin feeling exceptionally overheated. Drink cool water or rehydration solution while resting to lower your body temperature and keep your face from getting red.
As with all forms of flushing, there can be medicinal cures. It may not be ideal to use medication for slight flushes, but for deeper ones there can be a great improvement. Products that will help to dilute the blood vessels, such as clonidine or beta blockers, will make the face look much more normal in a short period of time. Make sure that the instructions are carefully read so as not to cause any damage.
Seek medical attention if you develop hives during or after exercise, as this symptom may be caused by a potentially serious disorder called "exercise-induced urticaria." Also, seek help if you feel faint, dizzy or otherwise unwell during or after exercise.
Invest In Anti-Inflammatory Products
If you're in a bind and need to reduce your flushed face quickly, buy a few calming skin care products to stash in your gym bag. First, wash your face with a cooling cleanser like the Avene Antirougeurs Redness Relief Dermo-Cleansing Milk ($28). Then, Dr. Weiser recommends coating your skin with a lotion containing the blood vessel constricting ingredient Xanthine, which is found in La Roche Posay Rosaliac Visible Redness Neutralizing Moisturizer ($38) to promote speedy relief.
If you have a bit of extra time on your hands, apply a calming face mask like the Boscia Cool Blue Calming Mask ($15 for pack of 6) for twenty minutes after a high-intensity workout. The mask contains an ingredient called sea whip algae that works as a potent anti-inflammatory to refresh and soothe any visible irritation.
Apply a Milk-Soaked Compress
Similar to the benefits of placing a cool compress on your forehead when you have a fever, applying one to a reddened face post-workout will help ease the extra heat. "The cold temperature, pH levels and proteins in milk compress all have a heat drawing effect on the skin, which lessens the redness," says Shereene Idriss, M.D. with Wexler Dermatology. Soak a washcloth in cool milk and apply to your face in order to pull away the extra warmth and contract blood vessels for a fast-acting effect.
Change Your Beauty Regime.
It may feel strange not to be doing all you can to make sure that your skin is silky soft, but cutting the exfoliation regime back will do you the world of good. This will mean that there is a lot less risk of your skin being too sensitive and being attacked by the sun. Any tan you get will be a cool light brown, rather than a painful, unsightly red.
It will be best if you can reapply every couple of hours when riding a mountain bike. While the wind is blowing - and the feeling of staying cool is going to be emphasized when riding a mountain bike - it can deceive you into believing that the sun is not hot enough to burn you. The difference between the color of a constant re-applier and someone who does not bother will be immense.
All in all, it is to be expected that you are going to become out of breath and a little red in the face during some of the more difficult parts of the ride, but that does not mean you ignore the issue. Follow the above five tips, and you can enjoy the ride.