Keeping your body in shape takes hard work and dedication. However, intense physical activity can leave you sweaty, dehydrated and achy, wrecking havoc on your skin. Here are four skincare tips to help you look gorgeous while being active, because athletes deserve healthy skin, too.
1. Beat Body Acne
Whether you are twisting into Downward-Facing Dog or running a 5K, body acne can happen to anyone with an active lifestyle. Most usually found on the back, chest and neck areas, body acne forms when pores or hair follicles become clogged with dead skin and oil. Another form of acne in young athletes is Acne Mechanica, which is activated by excessive heat and friction, or rubbing of the skin. Anything from shoulder straps to helmets can provoke a breakout anywhere on the skin. But just because you are a fit mom or on the lacrosse team doesn’t mean you are cursed with bad skin. Most body breakouts respond well to over-the-counter salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide treatments. Use a facial cleanser or body wash that incorporates one of these ingredients, and use it daily (or right after a workout). Avoid scrubbing to prevent irritating the skin more by using a washcloth or loofah.
2. Prevent Sun Damage
For the outdoorsy competitor, exposing your skin to the elements can pose danger to your complexion. Activities such as hiking, swimming or skiing, for example, can make you vulnerable to sun damage. Scheduling your exercise around the daylight is key to protecting your skin against UV rays. Go outdoors when the sun is low in the sky: early morning or late afternoon. What you wear outdoors is also important when keeping your skin safe. Consider splurging on UV protection pieces such as swimwear, hats and shorts, which are specialized in blocking harmful sun rays. Finally, lather on sunscreen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our skin is susceptible to sun damage the minute you step outside.
3. Ban Germs and Bacteria
Using communal equipment such as weights or Pilate mats, exposes your skin to gross bacteria that can lead to medical issues such as Athletes foot, staph infections or ringworm. Sharing machines doesn’t mean you have to share bacteria, however. Wipe down machines before and after each use with antibacterial wipes, bring your own mat to group exercises, and wash your workout gloves regularly. Also, carry hand sanitizer in your gym bag so you can sterilize your hands as soon as you leave the gym.
4. Avoid Chafing
You know you are getting a good workout when you feel the burn. However, if you are feeling a burning and stinging sensation on your skin, you are experiencing chafing. This skin irritation usually affects runner who constantly rub their inner thighs together, but honestly chafing can happen to anyone, anywhere on the body. When your skin is sweaty, it’s extremely sensitive and any rubbing can cause this skin irritation. Don’t let chafing keep you inactive. Instead, wear clothing with sweat-wicking material, which absorbs sweat off the body and helps evaporate it. Another preventative measure is to apply a protective layer of petroleum jelly or baby powder on problem areas that are prone to chafing. If you already have chafed skin, you can also apply these products to help ease the irritation. Most importantly, stay hydrated to prevent skin dryness.