Top Skin Care Tips for Runners’ Comfort
It is no secret that running has a ton of health benefits. Aside from the mental benefits of helping you think more clearly, ease anxiety, fight depression and imbalanced serotonin levels, help your confidence levels to bloom and blossom, and give your anger and frustration an ‘out’ after a tough day at work, the physical benefits almost seem limitless. Running can help in weight loss, normalize blood pressure and heart rate levels, strengthen and build your muscles to help fight atrophy and increase metabolic rates, and strengthen your immune system so that your body can more efficiently fight off bacteria and illness. One of the downsides of running, though, is that exposure to the elements, crazy weather, and sweat can wreak havoc on your skin. But that does not mean you need to give up your beloved morning miles just because you face some skin problems! We are here to help provide a few tips and tricks for keeping your skin clear and healthy despite what your training plan puts it through.
Protect Yourself From the Sun
If you are not used to wearing sunscreen, now is the time to start! Even if you are only exposed for a short 20 to 30 minute run outside, those minutes build up over time. If you never protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays, not only do you raise your risk of skin cancer, but you dry your skin out and it can become papery and prematurely wrinkled. And if your doctor has recently told you to get outside and get a little Vitamin D, sunscreen will still protect your skin without inhibiting you from soaking up Vitamin D.
Focus on Hydrating Your Skin
Make hydration one of your top priorities, every single day! Not only does your running need to be fueled by lots of water, (especially during the summer months as things start heating up and your body starts sweating more) but your skin needs that water too! Skin starts to “glow” when it is properly hydrated, and hydrated, nourished skin can hold up better to the sun and too hot and humid conditions that it might be exposed to during an outdoor run. And while drinking your eight daily cups of water helps your skin from the inside, make it a habit of lathering up with lotion twice a day to hydrate your skin from the outside surface as well.
Nobody is here to judge your personal hygiene preferences. We do not care how often you do or do not wash your hair, how many times you use a towel before washing it, and how often you clean out your gym water bottle. But showering after a sweaty run is important for a number of reasons. The obvious, of course, is that if you want to make and keep your friends, you probably do not want to constantly smell like body odor. But that same bacteria that causes you to stink also lingers on the skin and can cause harmful and uncomfortable skin conditions to arise. It is important that you clean up after a run to avoid unwanted acne from bacteria clogged pores and to get rid of epidermal bacteria that leads to fungal growth and infections. It is always extra helpful to invest in a high-quality soap, as well. If you have dry skin, you will want to avoid soap that has harsh chemicals that irritate the skin and opt for a simple formula with recognizable ingredients and which has a creamy consistency to help moisturize skin.
Avoid the Chafe
When moisture from water and sweat mixes with elastic bands and tight-fitting clothing and exercise, the result is often a painful chafing of the skin. This can be everything from simple red marks and lines on the skin to completely breaking the skin open, swollen bumps, and blistering. It is painful and ugly… and avoidable! There are a ton of quality chafing lubricants (gels, creams, etc) that you can apply to trouble areas before a run that will protect your skin. Simply be diligent about applying the chafing cream to areas that are susceptible to chafing (namely, underarms, the groin area, sports bra lines, and the heels and balls of your feet) to avoid painful rubbing. You will protect your skin from the possibility of infection and those ugly red chafe marks.
Aside from sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun, it is a smart idea to wear clothing that adds an extra layer of protection. And while we know you need to dress for the weather and probably are not keen on wearing long sleeves and thermal tights when temperatures are around 80 degrees F. you should still look for UV protective running attire no matter what the weather is like. Aside from sun protection, the right clothing also protects your skin from wind chap, which can really wreak havoc on your tender skin. Wind chap is not only painful, but difficult and takes a long time to heal, so it is best to take the steps to avoid against it altogether. The right clothes will help you!
- 8 Winter Skincare Tips for Runners, MapMyRun Article ,