Caring for Chronically Dry Skin as a Motorcyclist
Itchy skin is the royal menace of winter season, but with enough exposure or sensitivity, can irritate us all year round. For bikers especially, skin-care should be practical and effective. While finding good products is like digging through a hay stack, hydration essentials can be affordable, non-greasy, scent free, and still get the job done. If you find yourself struggling with bouts of eczema, flakiness on your face, hands, or body, or just can't seen seem to fight off persistent dryness on the road, a few small habits here and there should have you feeling comfortable in no time.
Naturally, the best way to prevent dryness is by reducing prolonged exposure to the sun, wind, and cold. Sunscreen and chapstick are bare minimum essentials regardless of the season. An SPF should be reapplied throughout the day, and applied to all exposed skin, in addition to the face, neck, and hands. Pay special attention to the spaces between your gloves and shirt such as your wrists, or your shirt and pants, like the lower back. These areas are easy to forget and can attract some gnarly burns in the meantime.
Wearing all the proper gear will go a long way in keeping covered. A full face helmet with a tinted visor and sunglasses (we're partial to Spy Optic) are non negotiable and will dually protecting the face and eyes.
Consistent moisturizing is ideal to combat dryness, but moisturizer works best following a good cleanse -- particularly after sloughing off the grim and oil of a ride. That build up can culminate sensitivity and bacteria, increasing risk of irritation or infection. Once home, showering with a physical exfoliator such as a loofah, cloth towel, or bath scrub will help clear and prep the skin for good absorption. (Though, showers need not be scorching hot.) We recommend using a strong but gentle body cleanser for this. It could be as simple as Dr. Bronners body wash, but we highly recommend Dermalogica's Special Cleansing Gel as a cleansing staple. Try bathing shortly after motorcycling whenever possible, and take note of which habits releave dryness best.
During longer outings, using baby wipes throughout the day will help keep layers of dust from forming and gently exfoliate the skin. The Honest Company and Public Goods sell inexpensive packs to keep in your go bag, though any non-alcoholic wipe should do the trick. And of course, clean clothes, gloves, and helmet padding will go a long way too.
While it seems counter-intuitive to dowse inflamed skin with dense creams, clean and simple products like shea butter, aloe vera gel, and safflower, sunflower or argan oil, are non-comedogenic for most skin types and have enough richness to treat dryness and sensitivity. Not to mention, these more basic items tend to come with a cheaper price tag. Including one or two of these moisturizers as a nighttime product or hydrator before taking the wheel will seal in moisturize without any heaviness.
For chronically chapped hands, arms, and body, Curel's Ultra Healing Moisturizing Lotion and Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Cream are cheap and effective for daily use. You might consider opting for tins of Badger Balm or travel bottles of Aveeno's skin therapy for on the road application, as well. Whichever your choice, make re-application of a wax or petroleum based gel, or dermatologically approved lotion, a constant -- stopping to do so during fuel up, off-road breaks, and after and before parking. Eventually, you'll be moisturizing before your skin gets dry.
If dry skin becomes painful or rises any concerns, be sure to consult a doctor or dermatologist based on your needs and symptoms. For routine self care, you might enjoy epsom salt baths to calm down inflammation and red patches. You can add fragrance free oils and bath bombs for some extra oomph, too... who doesn't love some me-time?
On an even cozier night, lotion up your feet and wear socks to bed for an overnight foot mask. You can do the same with mittens to hydrate your hands, or with sheet masks on your face. Better yet, make use of grannie's tried and true nightly vaseline routine, applying jelly to any problem areas.