Running and Summer Skin Care

I enjoy running in the summer.  I love the sun and don’t mind the heat that much.  The sun loves me in the sense that I have always been one to tan quite easily.  I can step outside for 10 minutes and come in with tan lines.  I was the envy of my friends on spring break and rarely have I ever burned.

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Seriously, that tan!

But over the years I have spent plenty of time out in the sun, especially as I became a more avid runner, and sadly I have started to see some of the effects of the sun on my face.  A few years ago I got sun damage on my forehead in the form of dark blotches.  I’m certainly not getting any younger and I have to live in the skin I am in for the rest of my life.

Now that I am pregnant I am also prone to chloasma or melasma, also known as “pregnancy mask.”  Increased estrogen causes a rise in melanin production in pregnant women.  Up to 50-70% of women end up with dark blotches on their skin due to this increased production.  Sun exposure makes these spots worse.  Fortunately they tend to disappear after delivery, but no one wants to walk around with a splotchy face for several months.

Runners, namely marathoners, are especially prone to melanoma.  Studies have shown that runners are at a much higher risk of skin cancer.  Knowing how much time we spend outdoors training in the summer, it is no wonder that we are putting ourselves at danger.  Add all of the sweat on our skin and the sun reflecting off of it for hours and you can see how damaging this could be.

Fortunately, there are a few things we can do to protect our skin.  Below are a few tips to keep you safe and your skin glowing:

Apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before you head out for a run.

Wear at least an SPF 30 and try to reapply after every 2 hours.

Avoid running in the sun at the most intense times of the day between 10:00am-4:00pm. I also recommend avoiding these times because it is way to hot!

Wear sunglasses to help protect your eyes and also keep you from squinting which will increase wrinkles and skin damage.

Make sure you get your shoulders and gentlemen don’t forget your heads!

Many companies now make great clothes with SPF built into the garments.  These are also great for the beach.   You might also want to consider getting a running hat or visor.  While I can’t stand to have a hat on when I run, I love having a great beach hat for my post run cool off.

I also tend to have oily and acne prone skin which kept me from wearing sunscreen for a long time.  But I have two products that I love using and wanted to make sure to share both with you:

The first is a powder based SPF from Peter Thomas Roth which comes in a tube and is easily applied with the brush.  This serves a twofold purpose for me.  While it is easy to dab on before a run, I love, love, love, that I can put it on my skin over make up over even sans make up and not have to worry about my skin looking greasy.  This stuff is amazing!

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This one is my ultimate favorite as it has a built in acne medication included.  I haven’t been able to find it anywhere lately so if you find it, please let me know!

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The second is Neutrogena Clear Skin SPF.  This stuff works well on runs and doesn’t streak into my eyes.  It also keeps your skin from getting too greasy and doesn’t cause breakouts.

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I also love this because it is oil free, easy to pop in a running belt and doesn’t run when you do!

Thanks to these two products there is no reason to avoid throwing something on your face before you go for a run or even just head out the door for the day.  Stay safe!

What is your preferred sun protection product?