How To Treat Cycling Acne and Pimples

By Walter J. Farrell | RIDES

Going on a bike ride is one of the most effective ways to keep fit and healthy. However, the long hours spent outdoors can lead to several skin problems, such as sun damage, skin chafing, saddle sores or cycling pimples, and acne.

The good news is that these skin problems can be prevented to minimize discomfort while cycling on your trendy beach cruiser bikes. Apart from being unsightly, cycling acne and pimples can be extremely painful, so it’s best to know what to do to keep them from coming up in the first place.

What Are Cycling Pimples and Acne?

Cycling pimples or saddle sores are different from ordinary pimples as these spots can appear in other parts of the body, such as the inner thighs and the buttocks. Cycling acne, or acne mechanica, are pimples that are caused by heat, pressure on the skin, and skin friction.

The term saddle sore means problems in the area covered by cycling shorts due to ongoing pressure or chafing from the saddle. If you have tender spots that are red or pink and raised in an area that rubs your saddle, then you’ve definitely got saddle sores.

For some people, a saddle sore looks very much like a pimple or an ingrown hair. When saddle sores are in sensitive areas such as the thighs or the crotch, it can be excruciating to get on a bike.

Meanwhile, one of the most common causes of acne mechanica includes wearing a helmet with a chin strap or any equipment or gear that has straps. The friction created by the straps irritate the skin, which results in pimples. 

Tight fitting clothing and headgear can also result in this skin problem, so if the spots on your forehead never seem to go away, it’s likely due to the heat and sweat that is constantly trapped under your helmet.

How to Prevent Cycling Acne and Pimples

To prevent cycling acne or saddle sores, there is one product that stands out among the rest—chamois cream.

This cream has a thick consistency and is designed to prevent chafing and unwanted infections. A chamois cream may also be used to treat existing saddle sores and gives a cooling effect on the skin to alleviate the pain.

Apply the chamois cream liberally on any affected areas and allow the cream to absorb into the skin before getting dressed. You may also apply this cream onto your cycling shorts to give you extra protection.

While you’re letting your saddle sores heal, wear bicycle shorts made from soft materials, such as 100% cotton shorts. This will allow your skin to breathe and help your sores to heal faster.

As to how to prevent pimples and breakouts, here are a few things that you can do.

  • Clean your helmet regularly and pay special attention to the lining. If it can be removed and laundered, it may be a good idea to do so. If not, just use a mild soap and water solution to clean it, then rinse with plain water before letting it dry.
  • Keep your hair off your face during bike rides. If it’s long enough to be tied into a ponytail, do so. If not, use a headband or a bandana to keep the hair off your face, and the fabric can also prevent acne and irritation by absorbing sweat during long bike rides.
  • Wash your face thoroughly after bike rides. Use a facial wash designed for oily or acne-prone skin, as it contains ingredients that may improve breakouts while leaving your skin fresh and clean.
  • Treat your acne after washing and moisturizing your face. No need to pick expensive acne treatments—some of the best acne products come from the drugstore. Look for products that contain benzoyl peroxide, Adapalene, bentonite, or salicylic acid. All these are added to skin care products to treat and prevent acne.

  • You may want to consider taking a packet of medicated facial wipes on your bike rides so you can clean your face whenever you need to do so. You can also take along a small bottle of facial toner (I recommend looking for some Korean brands) and some cotton pads if you need a deeper clean without drying your skin.
  • If you’ve got body acne, you can treat it by using a body wash that contains acne-fighting ingredients. Use a soft washcloth—not a loofah—to apply the body wash, as it won’t irritate tender spots. Afterward, treat the acne with the same drugstore acne products that you used on your face. Next time, wear a breathable cycling jersey and make it a point to shower after your cycling to rid your skin of any acne-causing bacteria.

Like they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. When it comes to cycling related skin care problems, there are many things that you can do to prevent them from breaking out on your face and body.

By using the right products and making it a priority to apply them regularly before and after bike rides, you can have a clear and smooth complexion as well as a pain-free ride.


This is a guest post by Jenny, the dedicated blogger behind Support Your Beauty. She found her passion in inspiring people to feel free and confident with their looks after years of practice in the beauty niche and many trials and errors. Jenny believes in the inner radiance that every human carries within, and she shares an in-depth knowledge of the ingredients. Check out her latest articles on


About the Author

Walter J. Farrell is an accountant who is very passionate about sharing his knowledge on high tech gadgets. He started AuthorityAdviser to help people know more about the products that are currently a hit in the market.

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