Why do my lips get all gross when I'm biking?
May 1, 2013 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I get a gross sticky buildup on my lips whenever I ride my bike, similar to the buildup I get on my lips when I'm sick. I used to think it had something to do with not being hydrated enough, but I've since gotten a handle on what I need to stay hydrated and it still happens. Then I thought maybe keeping my mouth closed would help, but it doesn't. It happens year-round, on rides both long and short, and whether or not I'm wearing anything (like balms or glosses) on my lips. Why does it happen? Can I make it stop, or am I forever doomed to constantly wiping my mouth on my gloves or the inside of my collar?
posted by rhiannonstone to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I view all the bodily fluids coming out of my face as I ride as being the cyclist equivalent of auto exhaust. This is why bike gloves have those terry patches on the thumbs for wiping. Sucking down more water will help dilute it, at least, and you can swish that around and spit if nobody's around to be scandalized.
posted by asperity at 2:30 PM on May 1, 2013

My guess - exhaled, airborne tiny spit "molecules" drying on your lips. Warm breath will carry more moisture/spit across your lips. The breeze from your biking will dry the spit as it hits your lips, as would your fevered, dry skin when you're sick. I had a friend who couldn't easily close his lips completely over his front teeth, and he would develop what we called a plateau of dried spit in the middle of his front teeth because it would collect against his lip there and dry out as he breathed. You could barely see it, but after you did, you couldn't not see it.
posted by tllaya at 2:47 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding asperity. The problem you describe is the least of my "fluids coming out of my face" issues when riding. That’s what the soft spot on the gloves is for. That’s why you don’t wear someone else’s gloves, and wash yours at least yearly. You can also carry a handkerchief to wipe with.
posted by bongo_x at 3:52 PM on May 1, 2013

Yeah, as a former cyclist, just - spit and sweat and maybe sunscreen and wind. Lots and lots of wind. Has nothing to do with hydration level.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:58 PM on May 1, 2013

Oh, I used to get this. In my case it was caused by a combination of cycling and a particular brand of toothpaste that made my mouth skin unusually sensitive. It stopped when I switched to another brand. Took me ages to figure it out.
posted by embrangled at 5:55 PM on May 1, 2013

wash yours at least yearly

I feel so much better now.

OP, I love the crochet-back gloves for this.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:05 AM on May 2, 2013

Yep, what people said about bodily fluids drying on you due to the breeze from riding. I just recently noted (after my first long ride of the season) the acrid smell of concentrated dried sweat that I don't notice until I stop riding, because the scent is blown away from me as I ride.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:13 AM on May 2, 2013

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