Running can be your skin’s worst enemy: sunburn, chafing, calluses, blisters, acne. Yuck. With some diligence, we can protect our skin from these runner’s ailments.
SUNBURN: WEAR SUNSCREEN
I’m a sunscreen nut, but I know many runners that don’t use it. When you’re running for a few hours in the sun without protection, you risk getting sunburned or developing skin cancer. This isn’t a secret, so why do so many skip this step before lacing up?
When choosing a sunscreen, make sure it is broad-spectrum, which means that it protects from UVA and UVB rays. I like the oil-free sunscreens because they don’t clog my pores as much. A sunscreen stick is good for the face, lips, and ears — and it’s easy to carry. My favorite sunscreens for the body are Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof (the spray version is like Teflon) and Neutrogena Beach Defense. For the face, I prefer the Coppertone Sport Stick or the Neutrogena Sport Oil-Free Face lotion. You can find all of these at major retailers.
Also, wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses, and be smart about when you leave for a run. Early morning or later evening is best since the sun’s rays are weaker.
CHAFING: USE ANTI-CHAFING STICKS
Chafing sucks, and if you’re an endurance runner, you’ve likely experienced chafing at one point or another. I’ve tried many brands, but I find that Body Glide works best for me. I make sure to get my feet and all around and under my sports bra. Let me tell you, chafing on or around the breasts is hell. For the guys, I know many on my team run with nipple guards. I don’t have issues with bleeding nipples (how horrifying!), but I’ve been told they really work.
BLISTERS: WEAR PROPER SOCKS, USE PETROLEUM JELLY
For the love of god, stop wearing cotton socks. Wear wool or polypropylene socks. I prefer Feetures! brand socks, and also like ones by SmartWool and 2XU.
I tend to get blisters in the same areas. To help prevent them, I use Body Glide all over my foot and apply petroleum jelly to hot spots. This doesn’t always stop the blisters, but it keeps them from growing to the size of a Rainer cherry!
ACNE: SHOWER WITHIN AN HOUR OF RUNNING
How many times have you returned from a run and just sat around without showering? We’ve got to foam roll, ice, stretch, etc. But sitting around for several hours before showering? That can cause already-existing bacteria to get clogged in pores because of sweat and junk we’ve picked up along the way during our run. Showering within an hour can help prevent acne, but if you have chronic acne, see a dermatologist. They will know the best ways to treat your skin.