How to avoid long-term skin damage risks with Pelotan

How to avoid long-term skin damage risks with Pelotan

Home » Insight Zone » Our experts


Exposure to the sun is unavoidable in cycling; whether it be on training rides, one-day races, stage races or grand tours - it is impossible to remain immune to the harmful effects of UV radiation.


To put it simply, failing to protect skin from UV radiation has consequences for performance athletes. When developing sunburn, athletes will experience various symptoms that can lead to a reduction in performance including discomfort, irritation, distraction and, most pressingly, diversion of white blood cells and other essential resources to aid the skin’s recovery.


Today it goes without saying that effective recovery is one of the most important factors in the success of a cyclist. Damage caused by the sun’s harmful radiation must be repaired and as the body does this, essential resources are then redirected from the neuromuscular and skeletal systems to the skin.

Even mild damage will require repair and cause minor discomfort that can affect sleep, this is intensified as the damage becomes greater and can leave athletes in a state of perpetual battle to recover.

The energy from the Ultraviolet radiation damages molecules in the skin, most importantly DNA. Dermatologist Neal Schultz explains that the sun’s “ultraviolet damage causes free radical production and oxidative stress, which causes DNA damage”.

The body sends molecules to the DNA to ‘fix’ it, though this process takes time and has an energy cost. If the skin cell is too damaged, it goes through a process of apoptosis (essentially destroying itself to protect the proper function of the skin) which leads to sunburn.

White blood cells are attracted to your skin where the dead cells are scattered to ‘clean up’. Serious cases of sunburn require such levels of repair and regrowth that it may put pressure on overall blood sugar and other nutrient quantities, which has a knock-on effect to other organs and the body’s ability to recover quickly and effectively.

With white blood cells being diverted to the skin, less is available where the body most needs it for performance and recovery. Add this to the additional cost in protein, energy and myriad other bodily resources required to repair skin damage and it is clear to see a diversion away from muscle recovery for a condition that is entirely avoidable.


The most effective solution for cyclists to prevent damage from UV radiation is to apply long lasting, broad spectrum sun protection that is both waterproof and breathable.

Pelotan is an alcohol-based spray which is clear, quickly absorbed, lightweight and breathable. It has been laboratory tested as lasting up to 8 hours at SPF 30, even with sweat – meaning you can get a full day in the saddle without risking skin damage. It offers broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays (blocking 97% of the latter, which causes sunburn).

“Our goal is to work with British Cycling to help develop strategies to limit the effects of chronic sun exposure that negatively impact performance and recovery whilst posing significant longer-term risks of skin cancer.” – Tom Austen, Founder of Pelotan

British Cycling members get 25% off all Pelotan products


About the section