If you’re running, you already see the benefits that regular exercise has for your skin. But there are special considerations that runners should take into account to preserve and maintain your healthy “runner’s glow”.
#1: Wear Sunscreen
You’re probably tired of hearing this, but there is a reason – even the healthiest of lifestyles can see your skin’s health being sabotaged by the sun’s harmful UV rays. UVA and UVB rays are the single largest contributor to both regular and premature skin aging, and as a runner, you get lots of them. The sun breaks down collagen stores in the body, which can reduce skin elasticity and cause fine lines and wrinkles. To protect your skin, choose a good high SPF waterproof sunscreen which you take care to apply all over your body. Apply no matter what time of day you are running, although the sun’s rays are at their peak between 10 and 4, so take extra care to wear sunscreen during these hours. You will also be reducing your risk of skin cancer by taking these precautions.
During marathons, be sure to include a small bottle of sunscreen in your kit for reapplication – you will sweat it off after a couple of hours.
#2: Got Rosacea? Cool down frequently
Red faces and skin are just a part of hard exercise as your blood vessels dilate during heavy activity. These effects will go away as you cool down, but if you have rosacea, you may want to keep a spritz on hand to cool down more frequently to avoid aggravating the condition.
#3: Chronic skin conditions will get better – but shower
Rosacea is the only chronic skin condition that can be aggravated by exercise. For the rest of them – psoriasis, eczema, acne and so on – you will notice a marked improvement in your condition as exercise reduces cortisol. The stress hormone cortisol aggravates most chronic skin conditions, and its reduction will reduce the amount of flare ups and breakouts.
You should be sure to shower after each workout if you have a skin condition, as the salt from sweat can irritate some conditions, while the added skin oils from sweat will encourage acne if they are left on the body to clog pores. Don’t avoid working out if you have acne though – the benefits outweigh the potential mild breakouts that may occur, and you can stop them short by showering after.
#4: Reduce chafing with the right clothing
If you are wearing clothes that fit properly, such as leggings and a relatively close-fitting t-shirt or tank top, you can skip the chafing that comes with running for long periods of time and during the hot summer months. Avoid loose or tight-fitting clothes entirely, and use anti-chafing ointment on any of your problem areas.