Are you a runner? Do you love to spend hours in the garden or anywhere outdoors? Do you walk every day, no matter what the weather is?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, for sure your body can prove that. After all, spending a lot of time outdoors – working out, of course – can do wonders for your health and body.
Aside from how many times you train, or how long you run in a week, the bigger question now is how much do you protect your skin? Even if you love the outdoors or running is your passion, there is no excuse for you to not to take care of it. No matter what the weather is, here are tips on how to protect your skin, from your forehead all the way down to your toes.
Mr. Sun And Your Skin Are Not Best Friends.
You might think that the effects of sun won’t be too damaging for your skin. You are running, which is a different situation from lying down on a beach and trying to get a tan.
Apparently, the harmful UV rays of Mr. Sun love runners skin so much, it won’t come as a surprise when most runners, or anyone who spends most time outdoors are at a higher risk of malignant melanoma.
Malignant melanoma is the neoplasm of cells that develop from melanocytes. Aside from this, Elizabeth Hale, M.D., a runner and associate professor of Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine, said that many runners also have squamous-cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that occurs in exposed areas such as neck, hands and ear tips.
Therefore, be sun smart. Keep in mind that your skin and the sun are not and will never be in a good relationship.
Always Wear Sunscreen.
This is perhaps the most important tip every outdoorsy type gal should know. Whether it’s summer or winter, sun will always be there finding its way to deeply penetrate into your skin. Know better and apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF whenever you can.
To get the most benefits out of your sunscreen, make sure apply it 20 minutes before going outdoors, even if it’s going to be a short run.
This is to ensure you that your skin absorbs the protective layer needed as you head out and battle with the sun’s UV rays. If you plan to stay outdoors for more than two hours, bring a small bottle with you. You may need to re-apply sunscreen because face it, it’s not meant to last, too.
Drink Lots Of Water.
If you notice, a lot of marathoners or bikers carry a small bag with them, which is packed with essentials, including a water bottle. No, it’s not for display, to make them look cooler than you do, or to make them look more experienced.
They need to keep hydrated, especially when they will stay outdoors for quite a long time, and so do you, hence the bag and water bottle.
Keeping your skin hydrated is very important, especially when you want it to function properly. In other words, don’t take the “eight glasses a day” rule for granted. There is a reason why experts recommend everyone to drink as many glasses of water as they can.
Fine, running in your sports bra can really turn heads 360 degrees. While you may want to show off your hot, runner bod, just because you can flaunt it, wearing just a sports bra may not be good for your body in the long run.
As much as possible, go for sun protective gear. Wearing a running shirt in darker colors, although less comfortable, can offer more protection against the harmful UV rays.
In other words, save the sports bra inside the gym or in your home. If you want to flaunt your assets, do it in appropriate places, like the beach, or during your high school reunion.
If its wintertime and you don’t let the cold weather stop you from working out outside your home, then the least you can do is to keep your skin covered. The combination of cold air and low humidity can deplete your skin’s natural oil. As a result, you get dry, sensitive skin, which can lead to a red and blotchy appearance.
If a facemask bothers you so much that you can’t run properly, at least wear gloves, a hat or headband and a neck warmer. You want to prevent windburn, don’t you?
The Happy Feet.
Here’s a fact: feet are often neglected. It doesn’t matter if you miss your monthly pedicure, since you can hide it anyway.
Apparently, an outdoor girl’s feet are not the prettiest sight to look at, especially with the calluses, blisters and even, err, fungus.
Your feet cannot help it. If you’ve been running too much, fast friction can cause blisters to pop up, which can also lead to calluses. Eventually, this can put you at a higher risk of getting fungal infections.
So, What Can You Do About It?
Petroleum jelly can be your best friend in this situation. Dab a liberal amount of petroleum jelly on blister “hot spots.” After your run, remove your socks and let your feet breath. Use a pumice to get rid of calluses. In case you have blisters, over the counter treatments, such as benzoin can be used to speed up healing.
Even if you can hide your feet, they still deserve the royal treatment, too.
Cover The Weak Spots.
Your body has spoken. If you love spending a lot of time outdoors, automatically, your lips, ears, the top of your head and shoulders are the most affected areas.
It’s pretty obvious. Since these areas are more exposed, they are more vulnerable against the harmful rays of the sun.
Therefore, protect what needs to be protected. Aside from applying sunscreen, wear a cap or visor when running to protect your head and keep it cool, despite the scorching weather.
If you’re the type of person who considers winter as an opportunity to run, don’t forget to apply a SPF lip balm to avoid chapped lips. Earmuffs are fine, too, because your ears need protection, as well.
Schedule Your Outdoor Activities.
If you are the type of person who has all the time in the world to plan outdoor activities and actually making it, then fine, congratulations. Not many people have time to do that.
Surely, most of them would want to trade places with you. However, this doesn’t mean you can just go outdoors and run or climb a mountain anytime you want.
Check your clock, sweetheart. Going out between 10 a.m., and 4 p.m., is not a good idea, after all. The harmful UV rays are at their peak and there is a greater chance that you can damage your skin – permanently.
While a “lunch run” may be a perfect idea to get you moving, just stick to early morning or evening. The sun is still there, but at least, the effects are not that bad. You get to run and at the same time, protect your skin too. Win-win.
Eat Vitamin D.
Most people will tell you that the best way to get vitamin D is to go under the sun between 7 and 10 a.m. This is true. On the other hand, there are many ways you can get this “sunshine vitamin,” even without going under the sun.
Vitamin D is available in tofu, fish, soy milk and oysters. Fortified dairy products and eggs are also a good source of this vitamin. You can even take supplements if you wish, for as long as you follow the recommended daily intake. Plus, don’t you just love how food can fill your tummy after a long run? Hmm, tempting, isn’t it?
If you’ve had enough with blisters and calluses, then don’t wait until chafing says “hello” to your skin. Chafing is the result of friction or skin-to-skin contact that is common in upper arms, beneath the breasts, nipples or between thighs.
No, this doesn’t mean you are fat. It only means you are not paying attention to your skin’s needs.
To protect your skin against chafing, the good ol’ petroleum jelly can do the trick. Also, make sure that your running attire, which is made of soft and moisture-wicking material, fits you perfectly. Too tight or too loose clothing can lead to chaffing – and you don’t want that. Ever.
This is another tip you should always remember. After the day’s workout, you need to nourish your skin to give it extra moisture, which it deserves, by the way. At the same time, it boosts the healing process after the day’s hard work.
Therefore, moisturize. Use a cream, lotion or serum that is appropriate for your skin type. If you have dry skin, serum works best since it can penetrate on deeper layers to keep your skin moisturized. What’s the point of having a fit body when your skin is suffering, right?