You may be intent on keeping your body in tip-top shape, but what about your skin? Extreme physical activity presents special challenges prompting skin care that differs slightly from the norm. Here are some solutions to common problems athletes face:
Germs and bacteria
Great! You powered through your usual 100 push-ups at the gym. Did you ever stop to multiply your drops of sweat with those than came before you? That’s a lot of germs and bacteria on the floor or mat. It might be a good idea to wipe down surfaces with antibacterial wipes before your own workout session. If that’s just not feasible, make sure to shower or bathe immediately afterwards. And if you shower at your health club, tote a pair of flip flops in your gear bag to wear into the shower stall. You’ll need them to prevent athlete’s foot or other insidious funguses from taking hold under your toenails. Unfortunately these fungi live and breed in communal shower facilities.
Sweat from exertion can lead to more than a rash of pimples spreading across your forehead. Don’t be surprised if back acne, otherwise known as “bacne” flares up. Pores and hair follicles on the back, chest and neck clog up easily with dead skin and sebum leading to breakouts. Regular use of a body cleanser containing salicylic acid can help get a handle on the situation.
Meanwhile, another skin problem that can arise during physical activity is chafing, which in turn leads to rashes. If you’re at all prone to acne, that could mean a case of acne mechanica. What’s that, you say? Acne mechanica is activated by excess heat and friction or rubbing of the skin. Tight-fitting workout clothes may be the culprit. So can football gear, baseball caps and other sporting helmets. Wearing loose-fitting workout clothes can help, or at least selecting styles featuring moisture-wicking fabric. Never forgo a helmet where required but instead shower promptly after exercise and apply a soothing moisturizer or powder to prevent skin irritation.
Blisters and callouses
Constant, repetitive motion can lead to blistering, most commonly on the hands and feet. You probably already know how important it is to make sure your footwear fits properly and is suited to the sports you pursue. It doesn’t hurt to apply a pad, gel or spray as well to areas that routinely blister to reduce the threat of infection. Consider using specialized gloves or wearing two sets of socks too.
Don’t get sidelined by these common athlete skin problems. By taking just a few precautions, your skin can stay in the game, no worse for the wear!