I’m allergic to my helmet

I’m pretty particular about helmet fit, as I feel one should be in general. More so when I remember mine protects about $350,000 in tuition payments (silently cries and stares at framed degrees on wall, whispering that it was all worth it). I wouldn’t say I’m hard to fit, just firmly on the ’round head’ end of the spectrum. Charles Owen, you are just too oval.

That hat makes all helmets look cheap


I have a OneK and a Samshield Shadowmatte that I wear pretty interchangeably. I always say I’m going to school in the OneK and show in the Samshield, andddd then I end up wearing the Samshield. Honestly, I like them pretty equally and can’t tell once they’re on my head, but I definitely prefer the cleaner look of the Samshield.

Samshield Shadowmatte
So fresh, so clean


I am allergic to my helmet.

Image result for allergic gif

Not like ‘haha, I’m allergic to cheap wine’ or ‘my horse is allergic to wood’, but straight up real life allergic. As in, the harness is causing a rash along my entire chin and sides of face. I know a lot of athletes who have dealt with helmets causing breakouts, but this isn’t even that – it’s a gross allergic reaction rash. (I’ll spare you photos.) I’m not going to lie – I’m a sweaty headed person. 9 degrees, 90 degrees, my head will sweat in my helmet. I will never be someone who can leave the barn and be in public minus a baseball cap. So my helmets obviously have to deal with this – and it’s one of the reasons I love the OneK/Samshield’s removable liners. Toss it in the cold/delicate cycle, baking soda + vinegar, hang it out to dry. I do it at least one a week. But… the harness is not washable. For those unfamiliar with the harnesses on these, the inside of them that touches you is a soft suede like material, while the outside is more of a smooth faux leather texture.

I’ve been able to (somewhat) keep this at bay by wiping down the harness with Clorox wipes after every ride and it’s helping – but not curing. Washing the entire harness in baby shampoo did help – but only for a ride or two. I may not have much of a life, but I am not washing my helmet harness by hand after every ride. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So… help? Ideas? Advice? Not speaking to me anymore because I have weird allergic reactions?

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  1. So honestly, those harnesses are made of a synthetic material, so you shouldn’t be allergic to it. There’s no allergen there. It must be something else that’s sticking to it hence why cleaning it helps. Because it’s sort of suede like, stuff will stick to it better than if it were just smooth vinyl. Not that this is at all helpful to you. But you can at least aim the blame at something other than the pretty Samshield!
    I used to break out like that when the dry cleaners starched my show shirt collars. I think it was more just a sensitivity to the stiff fabric than an allergy though. Do you have a hay allergy? I break out if it rubs on me, it could be hay dust sticking to your harness making you break out. Maybe just keep some baby wipes on hand and wipe that thing down before and after every ride?

    1. It’s 100% something sticking to it because it didn’t do it the first eight(ish)? weeks I had the helmet and I’ve never noticed the OneK doing it before and it has almost the same material. That’s what is so weird though – why would sweat + Samshield harness cause it, but not sweat + OneK?! I think the baby wipe solution might be the best option here.

  2. I’m going to guess it’s not the helmet and instead a reaction to sweat (I agree with Stacie). I would think about getting a different helmet for schooling. One with a different type of harness. My tipperary’s strap doesn’t touch my face. It just hangs down and clips under my chin. And if it did touch my skin, it would be very brief as the harness part isn’t as bulky as the Samsheild which has a very large looking harness. Good luck.

    1. Yeah, that might be the best solution here. My OneK doesn’t seem to do it, so I guess the Samshield is just going to be retired to show status.

  3. A pair of fabric tubes that could slip over either end of the harness? Have more than one set so you could wash them frequently. Would certainly not be attractive and not suitable for a show, but would absorb the sweat too.

  4. Ugh that’s obnoxious 🙁 good luck figuring out a solution. Like others have said, figuring out a cleaning protocol or some sort of DIY cover for the straps will hopefully help reduce the reaction! One of my trainers has a similar issue with sweating super heavily then breaking out so she legit sticks panty liners on the inside of her helmet and just throws ’em out when she’s done riding lol. Weird but it works!

  5. KEP hats? They have removable inner pads and the straps are small and easy to keep clean. They are also meant to be SUPERB for keeping your head less sweaty #mynexthatwhenIcanaffordit

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