In the cooler months I normally wear a skullcap like this, which both keeps me warm and covers my scalp under my helmet.

Now that summer is around the corner that skullcap is way too hot. I'd like a way to protect my scalp without completely overheating... do any of my fellow bald guys have any tips?

Edit: To clarify, yes, I am wearing a helmet. Any solution would have to be something that would work under the helmet.

  • More resources from Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute: bhsi.org/baldhead.htm
    – Benzo
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 15:09
  • Start riding only DH :)
    – user20209
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 4:00

13 Answers 13


Get a thin, tropical-weight wool cycling cap. It'll keep the sun off your head but still breathe and wick sweat. I have one from Walz that's been just wonderful.

  • Can it be worn under a helmet, which the original question mentions?
    – Papuass
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 9:20
  • 1
    Absolutely. I wear mine under my helmet constantly.
    – lantius
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 9:39
  • 3
    Dude, you're in Seattle. When's the last time you even saw the sun? Commented May 3, 2011 at 15:30
  • 5
    On European vacation last summer. =(
    – lantius
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 20:31
  • I wear a Perspiration Technology headsweats sorta-cap that ties in the back, kinda like a bandanda. It fits well under a helmet -- I hardly notice it's there, even in hot weather. Commented May 4, 2011 at 18:05

Use a bandana underneath the helmet. I have seen several bald riders using them.

  • Headsweats and Halo both make wicking bandana head covers. Bandanas have the added benefit of wicking some moisture outside of the helmet and providing some additional sun coverage on the back of the neck.
    – Benzo
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 15:12

Another Baldy Here!

Seems like the answers cover the range of options. I typically go with "headsweats" type options with wicking fabrics and buy em only when they are on sale. On a day where I do not expect to sweat a lot, I roll with a bandana.

A couple points that haves not been mentioned in regards to sunblock:

1) Sunblock has a tendency to run and winds up in your eyes...aside from blurry vision, it is also not a very pleasant experience. If you go with sunblock definitely go with a least a Sport version which is supposed to minimize running, but my experience is that Aveeno and Neutrogena Face Lotions are best!

2) Sunblock also wreaks havoc on the pads inside the helmet.

  • I've switched to a halo skullcap, it's very similar to the headsweats option, but it has a rubber sweat channelization strip, which keeps the sweat from rolling down your head right in to your eyes. This helps a lot in the east coast's hot / humid summers.
    – Benzo
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 14:05

I generally wear a "headsweats" type cap/bandana as well as sunscreen on any exposed skin. This type of product has the added benefit of absorbing some or most of the sweat coming off your dome and headed for your eyes.

And yes - as other posters have mentioned, this works well under a helmet, just like a bandanna would.


I have a couple of helmet covers that work for me. There's one in my profile pic, and a large version of that pic here. Basically thin, stretchy synthetic material that goes over the whole helmet, and includes a small visor and large cotton neck flap. Down here the hole in the ozone layer makes the sun a little more enthusistic so it's even more important. I find the helmet cover cooler than anything that goes directly on my head, and the slight extra wind resistance is not an issue when touring.

I also use a headsock in the winter, but it does get toasty in the summer.


Sunscreen lotion smeared over the top of your head? Until it's figured out, basically zinc oxcide on the head.

Do you want a brand reccomendation?

  • 1
    I don't know if the poster has actualy used sunscreen on their head while riding, but in my experience it will wind up running right down in to your eyes as you sweat. I can't recommend this at all.
    – Benzo
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 15:12
  • The helmet will also be sticky with mixture of lotion and sweat. I don't recommend this either.
    – ojs
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 17:44

Cheap, readily available answer is a bandana. It works great.

I also ride often with a cycling hat like Waltz caps. Rapha makes some cool looking ones but they cost some major coin...

Caps have a visor to keep the sun/rain out of your eyes which bandanas don't. If it is bugging you and you switch it around backwards also.


Consider a helmet with fewer or no vents. You'll still need sunblock around the ears and neck and lower face.

I'd advise NOT putting a cloth cover over the outside of the helmet... the plastic outer surface has a job of sliding over the road in an impact. If you cover it with cloth its more likely to catch and resist your slide.

However a kepi-style or desert style curtain would work fine, provided its not too thick. The drawback here is lower ventilation and more sweat.

A touring rider might choose to wear an all-around brim sunhat, with the helmet strap passing through a hole cut each side of the brim. This is surprisingly effective, while looking somewhat dorky.

Its not just baldies either - Here's a #1 buzzcut, followed by a ride down the beach. It feels worse than it looks.

enter image description here

  • Downvoting is fine - but do please leave a comment as to why.
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 23:50

The one thing I hate most about loosing my hair is coming back from a ride with lines on my head burned in.

Sunblock is how I handle it.


Presumably you're wearing a helmet... Some are less "open" than others. I have seen some that have such large holes it would be possible to get leopard-spot tan spots on one's head.

I think the sunblock is the easiest solution....There are very light skullcaps available but they're still going to be hotter than not.

If you're not wearing a helmet.... Tests have shown that modern, well-ventilated models are significantly cooler than your bare head.


There are lots of great answers already, I'll just throw out one more thing: you could check around for a cycling skull-cap with an SPF rating. One example is this one from Giro, rated at SPF 30. It's designed to go under a helmet for summer use, and has an SPF rating.

Presumably any fabric will keep some sun off and could therefore have an SPF rating, but since this one actually provides the rating, you can compare it to sunscreens you've used to determine if it's sufficient. In my experience, SPF 30 is plenty for most conditions.

I haven't used that Giro cap myself, but I did use some Pearl Izumi SPF arm "warmers" which I actually found cooler than riding without sleeves. I used them on tour, sometimes doing 6+hours in the sun without sunscreen on my arms, and never got sunburnt while using them, whereas my back would sometimes get mildly sunburnt through my wool jersey.

  • The question already says that the asker finds that wearing a skullcap under his helmet is too hot in the summer, and other answers already suggest trying a lighter-weight skullcap. Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 16:17

At least three manufacturers make sun skull caps for cyclists:

  • Assos
  • Zensah
  • Castelli

I have tried the first two, and I like Zensah more. Zensah is one size fits all. Like their sleeves, the cap is knitted. The fit is excellent. it is durable, too.

Assos is good too but .ite that sizes tend to be smaller. Excellent fit. The fabric is thinner and lasts for 2 to 3 seasons.

Now I have switched to Casco Speedairo helmet and no longer need a sun hat. The helmet has excellent ventilation but do not expose my head to the sun. I bought it for the visor though.


Bicycle riders in Australia train, race and ride in the middle of the day when UV levels are highest. Australia also has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Skin cancer is linked to UV exposure.

Then cyclists suffer melanomas at far higher rates than the average Australian.

My practice and suggestion is to really restrict one's riding to the early morning or very late afternoon - or here at the Melbourne, Victoria, latitude, only go out at midday in the middle 1/3rd of the year, a bit before, during and after winter - when the UV levels have dropped to negligible.





Sun protection recommended from 10:30 am to 2:40 pm, UV Index predicted to reach 4 [Moderate]

It would be nice if race organisers considered UV exposure when planning races.

  • 2
    Please bear in mind our "Be nice" policy. By posting here, you accept that your answers may be edited. The tone you're taking is unnecessarily aggressive and this dilutes what is actually very good advice. I very much recommend that you tone down your answer; @Criggie's edit seems entirely reasonable to me and insulting him is way out of line. Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 16:21
  • Note that while UV was linked to melanoma fairly conclusively quite recently, one should be careful not to over react. There was also a study dealing with various cancer rates in EU + Aus which showed correlation with more cancers of other sorts in the absence of sufficent UV exposure, they tried to explain it with vitamin D deficiency, since the trend was broken in places where vit D containing fish was eaten a lot, couldn't find it in my book marks but here are two similar ones: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joim.12251/full and ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26992108
    – user20209
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 3:59

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