Running can get under your skin
22nd April 2015
You’re a runner; therefore you probably take care of your body and eat right, have plenty of fresh air and, of course, exercise. So you will probably be devastated by the idea that your chosen “healthy” sport that leaves you with rosy cheeks can result in numerous dermatological ailments.
The most obvious threat is the sun. It is unlikely that you’re training in the dark or indoors for that next marathon, so you are potentially putting your skin at risk of sun damage, especially on the exposed hands, neck and tips of the ears. This is still true even if most of your running is done in cloudy weather. UV rays are far stronger than you might realise, so you need to diligently use sunscreen every time you venture out to do your laps and ideally wear UV blocking clothing, a hat and sunglasses.
The next most vulnerable part of your skin is related to your hard-pressed feet. Like a dancer, no matter how good your trainers are, you’re likely to suffer blisters, corns and even the dreaded foot fungus (due to sweat build-up between the toes). Moisture-wicking socks can help you keep feet happy, and make sure you air your toes as soon as the run is over.
Can you believe that although your running increases circulation, which should keep your skin clear, women in particular can experience hormonal shifts from running that trigger acne? Even men may become spotty because of bacteria and sebum trapped by sweating. To avoid this, shower as soon as you can and keep your skin clean.
Finally, no matter how skinny you are or how little you wear while running, you will probably be prone to chafing, which is most common under arms, breasts, between thighs or on nipples. The solution is loose, moisture-wicking clothing, and using simple petroleum jelly to protect the vulnerable areas.