How to Treat the 5 Skin Conditions That Affect Runners
Posted Jun 28 2010 10:45pm
Since I’m a cosmetic chemist I am particularly attuned to information about hair and skin. That’s why I found a recent article in Runner’s World about skin problems interesting. Here is the list of 5 different skin afflictions that most affect runners. I’ll include their list and give my own comments. I’ll also put them in order of how frequently they affect runners.
1. Chafing. This is a condition where your skin gets red and stings. Often, it may even bleed. It’s caused by a continual rubbing (usually of your clothes) against your skin. The most common places are between your legs, on your underarms, at your waste band and for women, along the bra line. Chafed nipples are particularly painful.
What to do. Vaseline works great to prevent it but so does wearing things like Spandex. Tight fitting clothes will be less chafe-inducing than baggy clothes. I’ve also found that if you get enough chafing in one area, it eventually becomes used to it. This is why I no long need to apply Vaseline to my nipples. They’ve been cauterized.
2. Sunburn. This is what happens when you spend too much time out in the sun without wearing adequate UV protection.
What to do. This one is easy. Cover up, avoid running between 10am and 4pm and above all…WEAR SUNSCREEN!
3. Blisters. These are painful, fluid filled bubbles found on your skin. They are caused by friction, excessive moisture, and poor fitting shoes.
What to do. I’m fortunate in that I almost never get blisters. Apparently, I’m lucky because experts say this is the number 1 problem for runners. You can prevent blisters by applying Vaseline or bandaids to the places where you get blisters most often. Also make sure your shoes fit properly. If you get blisters, they probably don’t fit right. If you have large blisters, the dermatologists say it is ok to pop them to relieve the pain. Just make sure you use a sterile needle.
4. Athlete’s feet. This is a fungus that grows between your toes. It makes the skin dry and scaly and itches like hell! It’s usually picked up in some locker room but it stays on your skin until you actually kill it.
What to do. To prevent it, just change your wet socks as soon as you’re done working out. The fungus thrives in wet, warm environments. To kill it, go get some fungal cream or spray. This stuff really works. But you have to keep using it for a few weeks. Even when it seems like the fungus is gone, it’ll still be hiding dormant between your toes. It takes at least 6 weeks before you can rid yourself of your fungus.
5. Runner’s toes. These are discolorations of your toes nails caused by excessive pounding of your toes against your shoes. Sometimes your toe nails even turn purple.
What to do. The key here is to wear shoes that fit so if you’re getting purple toes, your shoes don’t fit right. The other thing to do is to make sure you keep your toe nails cut short. Then there will be less chance that your nails will hit the front of your shoes.