Taking regular exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
However, exercising can have its downsides for your skin. And the more time you spend exercising, the greater the impact on your skin. In fact, of the top ten most common marathon injuries, three are skin related.
But the last you want is for skin complaints to stop you from exercising or ruin your enjoyment of working out. So how do you maintain healthy skin and stay on top of your exercise regime?
Read these top skin care for athletes tips to find out more.
A common complaint that everyone who exercises outside will have experienced is dry skin. Having dry skin is not the end of the world, it won't damage your health. However, it can cause irritation, itchiness and doesn't look great.
So why are athletes more prone to dry skin? It's a combination of two factors:
- Losing excess body moisture through sweat
- Exposure to sun and wind outside
The skin is an organ made up of cells, and each cell needs water to function properly. When skin cells lose moisture they can die and flake off, or sag and lose tension.
In order to prevent excess drying of the skin, it is essential that athletes stay well hydrated at all times. This means drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.
Cold Weather Training
If you are an athlete then training is not a fairweather event. In order to maintain your fitness, you need to train all year round. Which means sometimes you are outside running or cycling in pretty dreadful conditions.
Exercising outside in cold weather presents its own specific problems for your skin. Cold weather can be just as drying for your skin as hot weather.
Windy conditions are especially punishing on your skin, so always remember to cover up as much as possible. Wearing gloves, hats and neckwear will protect areas of your body that are usually exposed to the elements.
Applying lip balm and moisturising salve to exposed areas will also limit the drying effect and help to keep skin supple. And always remember to rehydrate after a cold weather run. Although you may not feel as hot, you will still have lost a lot of body moisture.
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Most athletes are aware that the sun damages your skin. But the damage starts from the first exposure, not just when you start to feel the burn.
Regular exposure to even low levels of UV can harm your skin and cause premature aging. Exercising outside often means protracted exposure to the sun with no shade. So, it is not only in hot weather that you should apply sunscreen and cover up.
When you are exercising you may sweat out some of the sunscreen you have applied. So, it is important to keep reapplying sunblock when you are out running or cycling.
Keep It Clean
Sweat is an inevitable part of exercising, and it's something to be proud of. It's a sign that you've worked hard and put the miles in. However, sweat can wreak havoc on your skin if it is left to dry.
When sweat evaporates it leaves behind salt and minerals. These can cause irritation and blocked pores. Therefore, it's important that you wash as soon as you can after exercising.
If you are prone to pimples or acne, it may be worth taking facial wipes with you to the gym. Cleansing your face regularly removes some of the deposits and will prevent blocked pores.
Sunscreen and moisturizers also leave residue on your skin and can block pores. Which is why a proper cleansing regime is super important to maintain clear skin.
Chafing is every runner and cyclist's nemesis. You can be as fit and strong as an elite athlete, but when the rub happens it can stop you in your tracks.
Chafing can also be a catastrophe for your skin. It causes irritation, burning, blisters and can even leave scars. So what is chafing, and how do you combat it?
Chafing is the friction burn you get when your skin rubs against clothing or other skin. The most common forms of chafing are between the thighs, around the bra area (for women), across the neck and under the arms.
Chafing is more common in warmer weather as sweat causes more friction against your skin. Your body also swells slightly in hotter weather, so thighs are more likely to rub against each other.
As with most complaints, prevention is better than cure when it comes to chafing. Wearing specialist sweat-wicking sportswear will keep you dry and less prone to chafing. Applying an anti-chafe salve on areas that are prone to rubbing will also help to prevent irritation and blisters.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Finally, one of the most important factors of skin care for athletes is to moisturize.
As we've already mentioned, exercise seriously dries you out. Whether you're running in hot or cold weather, your skin will be affected by the elements and by sweat.
Make sure you wash and cleanse your skin after exercise and then apply a layer of light moisturizer. Heavy creams can block pores, so if you are prone to acne it is best to avoid them.
Many moisturizers now have an SPF factor and can block some of the damaging effects of UV. So you're killing two birds with one stone.
Find out More About Skin Care for Athletes
So those are some of our top tips for skin care for athletes.
You should treat your skin like any other part of your body when you are in training. Prep it before you go out, keep it supple with lots of fluids, and do what you can to prevent chafing and burning.
Our natural anti-chafing and skin restoration salves are great for protecting your skin against the punishment of your training regime. So take a look at our online shop today.