Skincare Tips for Triathletes
by Nadezhda Pavlova, Editor
by Nadezhda Pavlova, Editor
Triathletes are considered some of the healthiest individuals on the planet. Apart from the constant exercise, most of them are often incredibly conscious about what they eat and their health.
However, because of constant exposure to the sun and other chemicals, these triathletes are also in danger of having their skin damaged or, worse, having skin issues. With that being said, here are some skin care tips for triathletes.
It is common knowledge that triathletes are exposed to the sun for more extended periods. From jogging and cycling to swimming, almost all of these activities are done under the sun’s often harsh heat. Although there can be certain benefits from having a decent amount of exposure to the sun, too much exposure can have adverse effects.
Most people think that just an hour or maybe two hours under the sun is fine. This may be true to some extent, but it could add up when done repetitively throughout some time. As a result, triathletes are at a higher risk of having skin cancers and sunburns. Moreover, people exposed to the sun for prolonged periods experience scaly spots in their skin that come back now and then or persist. They may also notice some moles changing or a skin sore that never heals. All of these are signs that a person may have skin issues.
This can be problematic as skin issues can affect a triathlete’s performance. This is because prolonged exposure can hinder the body’s ability to regulate temperature and increase the chances of dehydration. This means that triathletes with skin issues will not be able to perform at their best.
Fortunately, there are several things a triathlete can do that can significantly reduce or remove the adverse effects of prolonged exposure to the sun. However, first, it would be best to know that several factors affect how our skin copes with the free radicals generated by the sun and the risks of developing skin cancers. These include genetics, how fair our skin is, the amount of time exposed to the sun’s rays, how many moles and sunburns we have, the food that we eat, among many others. In addition, it is essential to note that the most common type of cancer is skin cancer, and about one in every five people tends to develop it.
Of the many types of skin cancers, one of the most common is called basal skin carcinoma. Fortunately, it is a type of skin cancer that does not spread, but it mainly involves having surgery to cure it.
Melanoma, on the other hand, is considered the deadliest. This type of skin condition usually occurs in places that are covered by the sun. According to some statistics, melanoma is the sixth cause of death among men, ranking seventh among women.
The great news is that there are several ways through which triathletes can protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun. The most obvious and perhaps the most effective is limiting their exposure to the sun. Doing their routines before 10 am or after 4 pm is the best option as it is during these times, the sun’s rays are least intense.
Next, you must observe the proper dress code. For example, wearing long sleeves, hats, and other garments that offer protection will significantly reduce the effects of the sun’s rays. Lastly, triathletes can use sport sunscreens with at least an SPF of 30 and preferably higher.
While running or swimming, triathletes can use swimming caps or helmets.
However, you should note that sunscreens are no longer effective after four hours. Moreover, they are half as effective after 2 hours, so athletes should reapply accordingly.
Almost all triathletes have, at some point, experienced blisters or chafing. This usually happens when there is a lot of humidity in the air or steady friction for an extended period. They are commonly found in the feet during long runs, around the neck, between the thighs where the skin gets rubbed against each other, under the arms, etc. Chafing and blisters hurt a lot and can affect a triathlete’s performance. Furthermore, raw skin may get infected when left alone to get worse and not treated immediately.
Despite the aches and the drop in performance caused by chafing and blisters, triathletes usually don’t cure them and just leave them be. This is because these things usually just go away if given enough time to heal. For example, some blisters do not hurt, so if this is the case, it is usually a good idea to just leave them be.
However, some blisters hurt because they get rubbed against the skin or the clothes during physical activity. If this is the case, donning protective clothing such as moleskin should do the trick.
Triathletes mainly do three activities – running/jogging, cycling, and swimming. While all these three are usually done under the sun’s heat, swimming is also done in water. In fact, there are many places triathletes can go swimming, such as in lakes, seas, and swimming pools. Of these three, swimming pools can cause the most damage to the skin. This is because of the chlorine that is present in swimming pools. Chlorine is used in swimming pools to keep them clean.
However, chlorine tends to dry out the skin and hair. Moreover, athletes who swim several times a week expose their skin and air to chlorine for several hours. As a result, some athletes may notice a reaction to prolonged exposure to chlorine, such as white spots on some areas of the skin, or develop a specific type of eczema.
To reduce the harmful effects of chlorine, there are several things that you can do. For example, before getting into the pool, rinse your hair and skin properly. The same goes for after swimming. In addition, while swimming, make sure to wear a cap to protect your hair from getting damaged. After swimming, it would be best to wash your hair with a gentle and moisturizing shampoo as the chlorine has probably dried it out.
As for your skin, use a gentle soap that is good for your skin. For additional moisture, you can apply moisturizing lotion before going to bed. If you end up suffering from rashes or a skin condition, it would be best to consult with a doctor.
As the name suggests, saddle sores are acquired when your backside rests on a saddle for some time. Saddle sores usually disappear over time when given proper rest. Still, it may lead to infection when left unattended, and the activity is continued despite the presence of sores.
Athletes with saddle sores will notice some redness or abrasions around their groin area and near the buttocks. These areas are the ones that often get in touch with the saddle and usually suffer from saddle sores. To heal them, there are some ointments that athletes can use. In addition, it is highly recommended to treat them first before riding a bike again. This is because the sores will only worsen the condition and may even turn into an infection.
For example, when left untreated, saddle sores may turn into boils. Boils are a type of skin infection usually red in color, tender, and sometimes ooze pus. Therefore, if saddle sores turn into boils, it is highly recommended to consult a doctor and treat it immediately. They will likely prescribe medication to treat them, such as antibiotics.
Despite the healthy lifestyle of triathletes, there are still some health implications that they have to deal with, especially when it comes to their skin. Therefore, having the proper knowledge about the causes, correct treatment, and ways to avoid these skin issues is essential if these triathletes wish to perform at their best all the time.