Dermatology Community
Leg rash and cycling pants
About This Community:

This forum is for questions regarding Dermatology issues, such as: rashes, acne, birthmarks, skin infections, rosacea, and general skin care.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Leg rash and cycling pants

4421479?1241356897
I'm having an ongoing problem with leg rash associated with cycling shorts.  The rash occurs on the front of my thighs, both above and below the leg bands.  I always wear sunscreen, and have recently tried Slide, purchased from our bike shop (it does not help).  The rash is bright red, blotchy, and does not itch, but feels like a sunburn.  Some of the areas are slightly raised, but no pustules form.  The rash is bright red the day after riding, then gradually fades over the next 4-7 days.   My family practitioner and dermatologist have looked at the rash soon after it appears, and have no idea what could be causing it.  I am not taking any medications that cause photosensitivity, and the rash does not occur on other parts of my body, or at any other time.  This problem first occurred when I was living in the upper midwest, and occurs now that I'm living in Florida.  
Any thoughts/ideas would be greatly appreciated!


This discussion is related to Rash Appeared on Legs.
Related Discussions
26 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

Contact dermatitis or Irritant dermatitis results  from exposure to allergensor irritants. Phototoxic dermatitis occurs when the allergen or irritant is activated by sunlight.  Only the superficial regions of the skin are affected in contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis takes days to fade away and when skin no longer comes in contact with the allergen or irritant.
Allergic dermatitis is usually confined to the area where the trigger actually touched the skin, whereas irritant dermatitis may be more widespread on the skin. Symptoms of both forms may include red rash, blisters or wheals. Try to avoid scratching, as this can cause secondary infections. If it persists and other symptoms arise, have this evaluated further for proper management.  Medical treatment usually consists of lotions, creams, or oral medications. This link may be helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_dermatitis

Take care and keep us posted.

Blank
Avatar_f_tn
My daughter and I develop a very similar, raised rash.  It is very uncomfortable, do the point of not being able to wear regular weight business clothes to work the next day.  We both wear sunscreen and do not sweat profusely.  We live in a high altitude and only seem to develop this rash when we cycle.  It doesn't seem to matter the content of the fabric or elastic/gripper material at the bottom of the shorts.  I've tried Desitin the day after to cover the rash since I commute to work on my bike in the summer.  I've also tried aloe vera and Benadryl cream, as well as steroidal creams.  It seems as though no over the counter products help, and trying to get into a dermatologist to have the rash evaluated is impossible.  Thanks.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the pic!  I've just been experiencing the same thing since upgrading my old bike shorts with new bike shorts this summer!  the old shorts have old fashioned elastic around the thighs and the new have what i think is silicone...clear, tacky, rubber like feel.  i never developed a rash in my old shorts but in both pairs of the new (one is Nike the other is Skirtsports) i have!  same as yours...bright red, raised, itchy.  creeps above the elastic (so underneath the shorts, out of the sun).  it seems to be some combination of sun, sunscreen, and the silicone that does it.  i haven't found any solutions online, just several similar complaints.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I recently had the same thing happen. The last two ride 70 plus miles in the sun.  Different shorts on each ride. The first ride the rash appeared I wore a pair I bought this year and had worn several times before this. The second time it appeared was yesterday on a century ride.  Overcast morning but sun and warm in the afternoon.  Shorts were a pair I've had for two years.  I'm using the same sun screen, have added no medications, use the same laundry products.

I'll be interested if anyone has a solution to this.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
same thing only when i wear lycra bike shorts in the sun,various pairs all high end.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
All I can say is I get exactly the same complaint--the longer the ride, the more widespread the rash. Only with bike shorts with that tight "elastic".
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have the EXACT same problem.  I've tried 3 different kinds of shorts, one pair with no elastic gripper at all.  It's only on the tops of my thighs, although on my 80 miler yesterday it finally spread to the sides.  It's never on the underside of my thighs, though.  Horrible hives.  Respond OK to oral antihistamines and cortisone spray, but it's hard to find clothes to wear for a few days that don't irritate it.  I don't want to cut back my cycling, but this is making me crazy!
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have the same issue... Last summer went on shorter rides and the rash would only go slightly above and below the band on both legs, but only in the front. Yesterday I went for a 70 mile ride and now have a rash 8" long on both fronts of my thighs. I wear the same shorts each time (washed in between, with Tide). I called Pearl Izumi today and they said that I could be allergic to the Silicon in the band- I'm waiting to hear back from them with a specific list of materials in those particular shorts. They suggested rolling the band up so there is no direct contact with the skin... I have a 100 mile fundraiser ride next weekend and I'm hoping that I can come up with something before then
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I'm so glad to have found this comments. I thought I was losing my mind.  I have the same symptons everyone else has and I can't figure out what is causing it.  I just went for a 50 mile ride yestreday and tried rolling up the band on my Pearl's and same old rash appeared!!  I just can't figure out what is causing it.  I'll be anxious to find out what Pearl has to say is in the material of the bands.  Although I tried wearing an old pair of shorts from 2 years ago last weekend and still experienced the same results. They also had a band along the bottom, but it did not look like the same material as was in my Pearl's.  I'm considering cutting the band out entirely to see what happens!!
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have the EXACT same problem.  The longer the ride - the more the rash but - still - only on the top (front of the leg/thigh) and - never below the shorts.  No idea what's causing it.  It feels like a burn (as previously stated by others) but - it doesn't seem to bother me much after (no itching etc..).  I've put topical steriods on it - and - that seems to make it disappear quite quickly.  Given that there's so many people with this same issue - I'm surprised there isn't a 'oh - it's this' type of thing from one of the dr's.  It's strange to me that - if it was contact dermatitis - then - why is it only happening on the thigh area with people and - not the back of the leg as well...??
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I have this problem too, and if anyone knows a solution for it, please let us know here.

My rash is a bit prickly feeling, while I'm out on my bike (with the cycle pants and suncream (if I am wearing knee-length pants) but I also get it while I am wearing 'longs' over the top of my knee-length pants.



Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Leg rash and cycling pants

I've tried taking some Zyrtec tablets (anti allergy) along with rubbing some zinc cream under the shorts, so that if the sun penetrates it, at least the zinc will block any burn that might occur.
I used Invisible Zinc so far..but I suppose the regular zinc might do just as good.

This is the best combination I've tried so far.

I did try using just the Invisible Zinc on its own without the Zyrtecs, but I did get a small amount of rash with that., so its BOTH for me in future.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Boy, I have exactly the same thing- top of thigh rash.  It happens with Pearl Izumi shorts.  Cycled the last couple of days with CEP triathlon shorts and no rash.  So, I'm convinced that it is something in the fabric of the Pearl Izumis that I am allergic to.
I sure wish a doctor would chime in on this thread.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am pretty new to cycling, but my last two rides of 50 miles and 60 miles I have come home with this same rash and it is so irritating.  You can't ride again for a few days because it looks so dang bad.  I visit my doctor in a few days who is a cyclist so I definatly be asking her opinion and I hope she has an answer.  If she does I will be sure to share it with you all!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Thanks BYKR4Acause
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Same thing happens to me and my Pearl Izumi's . I wonder if it has to do w the silicone 7 sunscreen combo? i put sunscreen on then my shorts, about mile 40 I noticed the rash appear. It appeared where the gripper is and then down the thigh to my knee.  Next week I hope I can remember to put on shorts, apply sunscreen and roll up the leg gripper...
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have the same problem, mostly on the inner thighs. It has become more noticeable since I started riding with new Sugoi bib shorts with the silicone band.  
One other thing I now realize, I use to ride wearing a nike swimsuit shorts under my bike pants (both the Pearl Izumis and the Sugois) and never had the rash then.  It has become moderate since I started riding "commando". :-)
I'm going to try riding with my nike swimsuit or compression shorts under again and report any changes.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have the same thing happening. It looks just like the picture in the 1st post.
EXCEPT, I do not wear biking shorts.
The first two times it happened I had street pants on (I'm not a serious cyclist) and then the 3rd time, I wore jean shorts.
There was NO material whatsoever in contact with the skin area that developed the rash.
After a 27 mile ride, there it was. I'd have to eliminate the chafing or allergen possibilities. What about vitamin deficiency?

I'd like to know more about the contact dermititis too. Does there have to be direct contact to the area?

I'm in FL, 90 degree weather.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Could yours be an alergy (allergy) to the sun lotion??
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have just recently begun experiencing this same problem.  I just bought new bike shorts and the rash has been on both legs.  I am getting ready to go back to using my old shorts but, for anyone suffering from this, I have found that GoldBond powder clears it up almost completely the same day I have riden.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I have experienced the same thing on long/hot rides, with it getting worse the longer/hotter the ride.  At first I thought it was heat rash, but it doesn't resolve for a few days and looks more like an allergic reaction.  I have several pairs/brands of tri shorts and it happens with all of them.  Silicone allergy is extremely rare, but I wonder if it could be some kind of adhesive or additive (could there be any latex?).  REALLY hoping to figure out how to prevent this before my first ironman in August -- it will be HOT and I will be wearing the tri shorts for a long time!
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Same thing is happening to me. Right below the cycling shorts. Been riding 200-300 miles per week in preparation for Ironman Florida and it pops up on long rides. Going to see a dermatologist if I can get in...
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Has anyone found out what this is?

I always thought it was an allergic reaction to the sun. I only seem to get it on hot sunny days (while cycling). I used to think it was when I didn't wear sunscreen but it also happens when I do.

Here's a pic after a long day with no sunscreen.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/pic/?pic_id=663655

I also wear pearl Izumi with the grip rolled up.

My doctor once said it could be an allergic reaction to my sweat, don't know if I believe that because it only happens when cycling in the sun and heat.

Blank
Avatar_n_tn
It is still a mystery to me.  I have continued to have the problem, regardless of what I have tried.  But..........perhaps a breakthrough!
This past week  I bought a pair of Pearl Izumi 3/4 tights, SPF 50.  They come to  just below the knee.  Although I've only had one ride wearing the tights, I am happy to report that the rash was in fact MUCH less severe than usual.  It was a hot sunny day, the ride length was my normal 30 miles on the same trail as in the past.  The only other difference was that I did not apply sunscreen on the thighs (covered areas).  I always apply sunscreen to all exposed areas, and do not experience the rash  anywhere else on the body.
I will let you know how future rides go!
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Theres a good chance that its the Lycra in the short. Have no none allergies ,went thought all the BS & came up clean. Started happening to me about a years ago at the 3hr part of my rides. Tried wearing Nike compression short under the bike shorts to minimize contact & I did have some success  
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have exactly this problem when I ride my bike in the heat. I also get the same "rash" on the lower part of my legs on long walks/hikes in the heat. I once had it up my legs after walking a marathon route in the heat.
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Dermatology Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
3 Reasons Why You are Still Binge E...
Jul 14 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating: What Your Closet ...
Jul 09 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Dermatology Answerers
995833_tn?1375604252
Blank
maatson
Other
757137_tn?1347200053
Blank
allmymarbles
NJ
1096512_tn?1384893378
Blank
vedadhar
Hyderabad, India