Help your skin recover after the London Marathon
22nd May 2015
Exercise is hailed as one of the most beneficial activities you can do to improve your physical and psychological health, but it can put you at risk of a number of a skin problems. For those of you who took part in the London Marathon last month, you'll know all too well the problems we're talking about.
Here are three common skin ailments that can occur following exercise, and how to stop it from ruining your after-marathon high.
1. Clogged pores
Excessive perspiration can play havoc with your skin, creating a warm, moist environment in which microorganisms can get trapped inside your pores. When your immune system reacts against these microorganisms, inflammation occurs. If the inflammation is near the surface of your skin, you get pimples; if it is deeper, you get cysts.
Cleansing your skin twice daily with a tea-tree based soap containing natural anti-microbial properties can help clear up these skin problems, but if it fails to resolve them within a few weeks, see your GP or a qualified dermatologist as you may need more specific treatment.
Chafing, the unsightly and often painful result of your skin rubbing against your clothing, can occur anywhere on your body. If left untreated, it can severely damage your skin or make it more susceptible to infection. If you have developed chafed skin, it is important to avoid irritating your skin further while it heals.
You should therefore wear comfortable clothing and avoid partaking in strenuous activities until your skin has healed. You should also keep the area clean by washing it with a gentle, unscented soap and keep it moist by applying a lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, that will help to prevent further irritation. If your chafed skin does not heal with self-care measures, see your GP. You may need to treat the area with a medicated ointment.
Flushing describes the skin redness and sensation of warmth that can occur following exercise. It results when the tiny blood vessels under your skin dilate, bringing more blood to the surface of your skin. This mechanism helps your body to cool down but can make your skin look red and blotchy. The first step in controlling the effects of flushing is to keep your body cool and hydrated. As your body temperature falls, your flushing should diminish.
Exercise can be tough on your skin - there is no way to sugar coat this fact. However, there are lots of options available to help your skin recover when bothersome problems do strike.