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Our top tips for taking care of your skin while running

With the New York Marathon right around the corner, this is an essential time to talk about skincare specifically for runners. Whether you’re a long distance runner or a weekend jogger, it’s important to be aware of some of the common skin problems that can arise from running.

Protect your skin from the sun

In order to avoid sun damage and skin cancer, you should apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading outside. It’s possible to get burnt, even on overcast days, so always apply sunscreen rain or shine. Pick a sunscreen offering at least 30 SPF and provides both UVA and UVB protection. You should also opt to wear some sort of sun-protective clothing, rather than running in a sports bra or bare-chested. A hat is also an extremely useful running accessory as it will further protect your head and neck from direct sunlight. Lastly, whenever possible, avoid running at peak hours (between 10am and 4pm), as the sun is at its strongest peak.

Prevent chafing

While chafing may not be an issue for you during shorter runs, it is a major cause of concern for marathon and other long-distance runners. Chafing occurs when skin rubs against clothing or other skin and tends to be worse when moisture (e.g. sweat, rain) is involved. To prevent chafing, apply an anti-chafing stick, ointment or powder to areas where you are prone to rubbing. It also helps to wear clothes that fit properly as loose fitting clothing are more likely to cause chafing.

Take care of your feet

You’re not likely to forget about your feet since they’re the things keeping you moving! The feet definitely take the brunt of abuse while running, so it’s important that you give them a little extra attention before and after your run. First, make sure you’re wearing shoes that are designed for running. We recommend buying them from a running store that has a specialist on hand to check the fit. Be sure you replace your shoes at appropriate intervals. Experts recommend that you get new running shoes after you’ve run between 350 and 500 miles.

Next, make sure you wear socks that are designed for running. Specialized running socks wick moisture away and pad your feet in the right places, which will help prevent blisters from forming. If blisters do form, it’s important that you take good care of them immediately so they don’t become more painful or infected. The same goes for calluses and ingrown toenails. Once these common ailments make their presence known, they are unlikely to get better on their own. You should also keep an eye out for Athlete’s foot, a common fungus that can cause itchiness and burning. Calluses, Athlete’s foot, and ingrown toenails usually respond well to over-the-counter ointments and remedies. If they aren’t getting better, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Keep your skin clean to prevent acne

Due to the inevitable sweating occurring during your run, many runners are bothered by acne on their face, chest, and back. Be sure to shower after your run to wash away dirt, grime, and bacteria as soon as possible. Don’t run in dirty clothes – make sure you’re washing your running clothes after every run to prevent acne. If you’re unable to get acne under control, please contact our offices and set up an appointment with one of our skilled dermatologists.


We’re here to help!

Many of our dermatologists are runners themselves, so they have first-hand experience about the unique skincare challenges associated with running. Should you have additional skin concerns, please contact your closest Advanced Dermatology office to set up an appointment. And to all our marathon runners, good luck this weekend!

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