How to keep your skin happy and healthy.
Being outdoors is by far one of the best parts of running, but it doesn’t come without risk, especially when it comes to skin health. Taking a few simple steps to care for your skin is always important, but especially so during the long days of summer.
1. Wear Sunscreen
Whether the skies are sunny or overcast, all runners should wear sunscreen. Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and that protects against ultraviolet light and UVB rays, the sun’s most damaging forms. Apply the sunscreen 20 minutes before heading out the door to ensure it’s absorbed into the skin. If you’re planning to run two hours or longer, bring a small travel size sunscreen to reapply. Besides protecting your skin from sunburn, wearing sunscreen regularly reduces skin ageing.
2. Dress for the Sun
While it may be hot out there, opting to wear a shirt instead of going shirtless or just in a sports bra will prove beneficial in the long run. Certain technical fabrics are designed and labeled as ‘sun protective’. Also, even though lighter-coloured fabric might feel cooler, darker fabrics shield more ultraviolet rays.
3. Cover Vulnerable Spots
The most vulnerable body parts to the sun’s rays are the ears, lips, shoulders, and top of the head. These areas have a higher incidence of skin cancer. To avoid extra damage and sunburn, apply sunscreen liberally to these areas. Also, try wearing a cap or visor to block the sun. Besides protecting your skin, the cap will keep your head cool on hot summer runs.
4. Avoid Chafing
Chafing is the result of friction or skin-on-skin contact. Running in the summer, which often entails sweat- or rain-soaked runs, can increase the amount of chafing. To avoid this, invest in an anti-chafing stick or ointment. Also, be sure your running attire fits properly; ill-fitting and loose clothing can lead to chafing.
5. Avoid Running at Peak Sunshine Hours
While it might be nice to get out during the day for a lunch run, during the summer it’s best to avoid running between 10am and 4pm. Instead, opt for an early morning or evening run, when the sun’s rays aren’t as strong.
6. Eat Vitamin D
Vitamin D, or the ‘sunshine vitamin’, has many important functions, including promoting bone health. But it’s better to eat it than to absorb it. Vitamin D can be found in fish, oysters, tofu and soy milk, fortified dairy products, eggs, and other foods. You can also take a vitamin D supplement to get your daily fix.