As an athlete, you’re no stranger to pushing your body to its limit. You know the vigor, intensity, and dedication it takes to reach the heights of performance. You also know how punishing your training routine can be on your skin. But just because you aspire to continuously better yourself doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your skin to do it.
Not only is protecting your skin important for your health but having clear skin can give a boost to your confidence. And sometimes that confidence can make or break a competition. The good news is there are numerous ways to help recover, soothe, and protect your skin during training. With this in mind, here are five skincare tips for athletes.
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water during an intense training session. Because when your mind is totally in the zone, you’re not thinking about hydration. You’re in a flow state, focused entirely on performance. But dehydrated skin is more prone to breakage, skin conditions, and chafing. It also takes longer to recover from any wounds you might receive from intense repetitive motions.
So the more hydrated you are, the better. Schedule time before, during, and after your training routine to top up on your beverage of choice. Water is usually the best, but it can also be helpful to supplement with a drink that contains electrolytes. They’re essential minerals that play a vital role in maintaining proper physiological function and overall health. By ensuring you maintain sufficient hydration, you’ll keep your skin healthy and be able to level up your training regimen.
The more you train, the more sweat, dirt, and other residue builds up on your skin. The more buildup there is, the more likely your pores will get blocked. Blocked pores, in turn, can lead to breakouts of acne, rashes, and undesirable skin conditions. And while you may think washing in the shower is sufficient, it doesn’t always clean your pores.
To be clear, showering is still important. But the job won’t be totally done until you’ve used a facial cleanser. A good cleanser will remove sweat, dirt, and bacteria accumulated during training without stripping the skin of its essential oils. It also provides a clean foundation on which you can apply any acne medication or spot treatments. Using a cleanser is a simple addition to your wash routine that will do wonders for your skin.
Once you’ve started to use a cleanser, you may notice your skin gets a bit drier than normal. As mentioned previously, dry skin can cause irritation, which can ultimately affect your athletic performance. So it’s vital to make sure you pair your cleanser with a moisturizer. And, even if you don’t use a cleanser, a moisturizer will do wonders for your skin.
A moisturizer, as you might guess, moisturizes your skin. But it also “locks in” that moisture so your skin stays hydrated for longer. When coupled with a robust hydration routine, your skin will have the nourishment it needs to stay healthy and glowing. There are moisturizers for skin types of all kinds from dry to oily. If you have oily skin you might think you don’t need a moisturizer, but even oily skin needs proper hydration. This prevents excessive oil production and breakouts.
There’s very little that damages your skin more on a regular basis than the sun. Its powerful ultraviolet rays can wreak havoc on skin that’s exposed for more than fifteen minutes at a time. Too much sun exposure can cause minor to major sunburns, or could even lead to cancer over time. It’s important to make sure you’re protecting your skin at all times from this ever-prevalent threat.
The amount of sun protection factor you need varies depending on the fairness of your skin. But, in general, the lighter your skin, the more protection it will need. So as a rule of thumb, aim to apply an SPF of at least 30 for outdoor activities. You can make applying SPF easy by just purchasing a moisturizer that includes it. That way you’ll hydrate and protect your skin from UV damage with one simple cream.
Skincare isn’t only about what topicals you use. It’s also about making sure what you ingest benefits your skin as well. And when it comes to diet, it’s hard to get better than antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that play a crucial role in protecting cells and tissues from harmful molecules. They can also help strengthen your skin against the effects of prolonged UV exposure.
The good news is that getting more antioxidants is relatively simple and straightforward. Berries and vegetables like blueberries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and tomatoes are chock full of them. So are nuts and seeds like walnuts and sunflower seeds in addition to herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, and oregano. Finally, some red wines like Malbec and pinot noir are rich in antioxidants. This gives you a good excuse to drink during the off-season or to celebrate after a victory lap.
Every athlete wants to look good when they get their picture receiving the gold. But focusing on your skincare routine isn’t just for appearances. Your skin is a massive and important organ, and the healthier it is, the healthier your body will be. By doing a little bit every day to help your skin, you’ll be improving your chances of nailing a photo finish.