Men's Articles

Beauty On The Run


Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned athlete, taking on a race requires preparation. And it's not just about clocking the training hours and eating nutritious food. You need to shield your skin from the harsh elements (think sun, sea and asphalt) that can wreak havoc on your skin, hair and nails. Here are the problems that could crop up post-race and the precautionary measures you should take beforehand.

Dry Hair And Skin

Hair: Rinse or shampoo your hair as soon as you can after the race. Using a gentle shampoo and conditioner with hydrolysed protein after that to protect your hair shafts. If possible, during training, quickly smooth on a protective hair moisturizer with SPF or UV filters before putting on your swim cap.

Skin: After training or the race, bathe with an ultra-moisturizing shower gel or lotion, then apply lots of non-comedogenic oil-free moisturizer. Don't forget to apply sunblock with SPE 35 and above to protect your dry skin.

Sunburn

If you do get sunburnt, take a tepid bath to soothe your skin. Alternatively, you can soak some towels in warm water and apply it to the sunburnt area. Follow up with an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or an aloe-based balm or cream two to three times a day to calm skin and reduce inflammation.

If you experience severe sunburn, see a dermatologist for steroid creams that can bring down the swelling. Apply body moisturizer liberally, but make sure it's alcohol-free as alcohol can further dry your skin. This occurs after a long distance run when there is excessive friction between your top or shorts and your skin.

Experts say that if chafing occurs, ice the area to quell the pain. Apply an antibiotic ointment or antiseptic cream afterwards. Be warned that excessive chafing could cut your skin. To heal the wound, apply aloe very del till your skin has healed. Keep the area clean and see a doctor to obtain a vitamin C base cream to lighten the chafing mark.

Pigmentation

Protect your face prior to an endurance race by slathering on a layer of sun-and sweat-resistant sunblock with SPF 30 or more.

Blisters

These develop when the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) is separated from its supporting layer (the dermis) through abrasion and excessive friction, say experts. Combine heat, sweat, ill-fitting shoes and socks and you could end the race with serious blisters. To prevent this, choose a pair of seamless shoes with soft lining and breathable holes.

Go for socks with sweat wicking capabilities that allow your feet to breathe. If you do get a post-race blister, leave it alone if it doesn't bother you. A large blister can be drained with a sterilized needle. Follow up with a mild cortisone cream, says experts. Rest your feet and lay off running till the blister has healed. See a dermatologist if the blister shows signs of redness or swelling as this could signal a secondary infection.

Tan Lines

You get streaky lines on your body if you haven't applied sunblock before the race. Use water-resistant. Wearing outfits made of UVprotective fabric also helps.

Bruised Toenails

Cut toenails short as long ones have a high chance of being traumatized during the run. The worse case scenario: Subungal haematoma (bleeding underneath the toenails), which leaves an ugly black patch on the affected toenails for months. If you do get this, you can opt to let it grow out or see a dermatologist to pierce the area and drain the blood.

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