Calling all walkers, joggers and runners – do you take care of your skin while you run? Whether you're a running enthusiast with multiple marathons under your belt or just enjoy the occasional jog, you need to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. Keep reading to see our favorite tips and the best sunscreen for runners.
1) Always apply SPF
"Protection from overexposure to the sun is critical for proper skin health – especially for runners. Sunburns increase skin aging, irritation, dehydration, hyperpigmentation and skin cancer risk."– Laura Kania, Licensed Esthetician, Snips SpaSalon
Did you know that up to 90% of your age signs (like wrinkles, fine lines, sun spots and skin sagging) comes from sun exposure? Regularly running and exercising does your body a whole lot of good, but if you run outside (or even near a window) you're setting your skin up for premature aging.
Even if aging skin doesn't concern you, the American Academy of Dermatology states that 1 out of every 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with one American dying every hour from melanoma.*
You need to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen every day no matter what – especially if you're an outdoor runner. Even on cloudy, cool days you still need to apply SPF:
"Sunscreen needs to be applied every single day because 80% of the sun's rays come through on cloudy days. Over time this will lead to accumulative sun damage and early aging." – Dawn Gantt, Bioelements educator and licensed esthetician
Do you keep running when the weather gets chilly? Surprise: you need sunscreen in the winter too!
2) Apply enough
Did you know that most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of broad spectrum sunscreen?* It's true – even those who apply the best sunscreen for runners religiously often don't apply enough to actually keep them safe. If you're not wearing enough, you're not protecting yourself from the UVA and UVB rays that can cause skin cancer and early skin aging.
You should always apply a shot glass-sized amount to your body and several pea-sized amounts to your entire face and lips (not to mention more for your ears, neck and top of your head if you have short or shaved hair).
3) Reapply often
Ok, so you've applied enough sunscreen before your run, but do you reapply? It's critical to reapply every two hours or more if you sweat. Think you're safe with waterproof SPF? According to the FDA, there is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. Even the best sunscreen for runners needs to be reapplied. The FDA states that even if a sunscreen is labeled "water resistant" you need to reapply at least every two hours, more often after sweating or swimming.
If you're a distance runner this means you need to bring your broad spectrum sunscreen with you. A travel size sunscreen fits nicely into many running belts and pouches.
4) Wear protective clothing
"For runners, besides proper Sunscreen, I recommend hats, long sleeves, or sun protective clothing." –Rita Holland, Licensed Esthetician, Marguerite's Skin Care & Makeup
Wear clothes or hats with a "UPF" rating – that means Ultraviolet Protection Factor. You'll want a UPF of over 50 for ideal protection. You can find these online, or you may already have clothes with a good UPF – check the labels on your running clothes. Polyester has a UPF rating of roughly 41 (anything below UPF 15 is not considered UV-protective). Don't forget to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen on any part of your body that is exposed.
We also recommend wearing sunglasses to protect the delicate skin under your eyes from burning. Plus, it helps prevent squinting which in turn prevents crow's feet and fine lines in that area.
5) Avoid running from 10 am – 2 pm
If possible you should avoid running outside from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, when the sun's rays are at their strongest. While the sun is the most intense during this time, its rays are still dangerous the rest of the day.
"Try to avoid running during peak hours – runners are more at risk during this time of day than other people, since they tend to sweat off some of their sunscreen and thus have less protection. This is also huge – wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day! People think the clouds provide safety from UV damage, but they don't." –Rita Holland, Licensed Esthetician, Marguerite's Skin Care & Makeup
The bottom line is if you don't need a flashlight to see, you need to wear your sunscreen – this includes days where you skip your outdoor run. If you do decide to run during these hours, make sure to apply ample sunscreen and reapply often.
"While the important part is that you wear SPF, it does matter what you put on your face – not all sunscreens are created equal. The drugstore sunscreen that does the trick on your legs may irritate the more delicate skin on the face, or have an unpleasant texture and finish."– Laura Kania, Licensed Esthetician, Snips SpaSalon
Bioelements broad spectrum sunscreens contain free-radical fighting antioxidants, soothing essential oils, and protection against both UVA and UVB rays. They've been clinically tested to be non-irritating and non-sensitizing, making them great sunscreens for everyone – even if you have sensitive skin. If you're a runner you should choose one of the following:
This hydrating broad spectrum sunscreen has an SPF of 30 and provides protection for an active, outdoor lifestyle. This is the perfect protection for body and face when you go out for a run.
This luxurious formula provides maximum protection and is packed with a ton of anti-aging benefits. It will not only protect against prolonged exposure, but also improve the appearance of lines, winkles and the feel of firmness.
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