Got helmet? Got breakouts? Surprise!

Sometimes the obvious just isn’t obvious. For example, over the last month or so (and honestly, every year right about the same time), many of my clients and friends have been saying that they are suddenly breaking out on their foreheads and/or under their chins and ears. Seeing as how it is full-on bike season in the high-country, my natural response is to ask people when the last time they cleaned their helmets was. And I’m always amazed that it just doesn’t occur to people to clean their helmets (or glasses, hats, beanies, balaclavas, etc.), but in all honestly, before skin was my “business”, I wouldn’t have thought of it either.

Think about it though. You’re ready for that killer day on your bike, and like any good cyclist, you reach for your helmet. So, where was that helmet and what has it been up to since the last time your wore it? Well, chances are, it was wet, or at the very least, damp with sweat and oil from your skin, because you are a biking god/goddess and worked hard for that sweat buddy. It probably also had a little trail dirt or road grime or maybe even a wee bit of bike grease on it, in addition to some dead skin flakes. Bacteria love to feast on oil, so they are quite happily drawn to that shiny, Thanksgiving-esque, helmet liner of yours, like moths to a flame. And those helmet straps?!? Oh boy, oh boy! Helmet straps and all the oil and “stuff” that gets trapped there, calls out to those little bacteria beasties like sirens calling to seamen. Oxygen kills bacteria, but if your lovely helmet was then put into a dark closet or bag (or worse), those little bacterias are quite happily making out with each other in the dark, and breeding away like bunnies (get a hotel already!).  Have I painted a sufficient visual here people?!?

So I ask again, what has your helmet been up to?  The simple answer is that it has been up to no good! Your sweet little brain bucket has been hanging with the wrong crowd since you last saw it. It’s been partying away with those naughty bacterias that your parents told you to stay away from! And now, once you place that symbol of protection back on to your lovely, innocent heads, the party carries on, only now the party is no longer on your helmet straps. Those smart little bacterias realized the real party isn’t happening on the helmet, and jumped ship, right on over to your delicious skin, where their feasting becomes paradisiacal. They told all their friends too.

And their lives were good. And their bellies were full.

UNTIL … your favorite esthetician ruined it all for them, and let the secret to avoiding sports related contact acne out! MUAHAHAHA! -evil grin

So please folks, let’s show those naughty bacteria who is higher up on the food chain. Please wash your helmets and straps after each use (or at least after you start noticing your skin breaking out). Set them out somewhere well-lit to dry, completely. The same goes for all things sports (and sweat) related that come into contact with your skin, especially your face and neck. It’s especially important for items that not only come into contact with your skin, but stay in contact with your skin.  And please, don’t forget to wash your sunglasses too! This is the time of year when I really start to see a lot of clogged pores on the places where our glasses/sunglasses sit.

Spread the word! Your friends will all thank you and you can be thoroughly grossed out together now! -but at least you will all have clear skin. 😀

– author, Karyn Blanco


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