On The Run

How To Protect Your Skin As A Runner

Our skin is exposed to so many harsh elements when we are out running! In Botswana, the intense sun coupled with dust and dry air can contribute to lacklustre and unhealthy skin. And in other places, factors such as wind, humidity, toxins from pollution, or a combination of these, can do the same. All these factors can lead to blocked pores, dryness, flaking, dehydration and sunburn, not to mention skin cancer. As runners, this means we have to take extra good care of our skin to ensure it remains healthy, supple and vibrant for many years to come.

It’s so easy not to prioritise skin care and I for one know that there are days when I don’t feel like putting in any effort. But I also know that while I keep running (and as I get older), I don’t want to regret that I didn’t take better care. So the compromise I’ve made with myself is to have a skin care routine that is SIMPLE, yet EFFECTIVE. This routine has evolved over time and has been easy to stick to. I’ve also found that following this has had positive effects on my skin. So for those struggling to find a good routine or those needing some extra reminders, this is for YOU!

Before You Run

As a general rule and where possible, choose a time to run when the sun is not at its most intense and opt for a shady route.

Cleanse Your Face. This is something that’s easy to forget pre-run but so important! Washing your face really helps to prepare the skin for running. It removes any impurities that have accumulated overnight and opens up the pores allowing your skin to sweat freely.

Moisturise Your Face. Your face is going to take a beating out there so always use a light moisturiser. Don’t overdo it or use heavy products as this can be counterproductive.

Put On Sunscreen. This is a MUST whether or not the sun is out. It’s so important to ensure that your face (including lips) and all exposed body parts have been covered and are protected from the UVA and UVB rays of the sun which can cause skin cancer. I’ve made the mistake of not covering my neck and hands both of which are highly exposed. According to this article, getting painful sunburn just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma (skin cancer).

Run Without Make-Up. Most articles I’ve read have advised that it’s probably better to run bare-faced as make-up can cause pores to become clogged on the run. Luckily, I don’t wear much make-up but I’d say if you really hate the idea of not wearing make-up, add a dash of mascara, under-eye concealer and some bright lipstick.

Wear a Visor and Polarised Sunglasses. With an ophthalmologist as a sister-in-law, you know I can’t leave this one out! Protect your eyes. This not only minimises wrinkles but UV rays can damage your vision. For more information, please check out my awesome sister’s post.

After Your Run 

Cleanse Your Face. This helps to quickly reduce any build-up of dirt and clogged pores. The faster you do this after your run, the better. Yes, even before your cappuccino (I’m guilty!)

Moisturise Face, Body and Lips! Even on my most rebellious days, I never skip this! Moisturising, especially in a dry climate such as Botswana’s, is essential as it helps to restore moisture to the skin and ensure that cells are repaired and rejuvenated. It has also been suggested that it’s better to wait an hour for skin to normalise before applying make-up.

Drink Plenty Of Water. External skin hydration means nothing if you’re not also hydrating with water. In fact, this is probably one of the most important steps to ensuring healthy skin as a runner. In a 21-day water challenge I did with my friend Elisa, we noticed more supple skin!

And For Extra TLC…

Exfoliate. Choose one night a week to exfoliate so you expel all of those dead, dried out skin cells! With all the sweat build-up, exfoliating is a great way to rejuvenate your skin and encourage new skin to grow. This allows you to achieve that brighter and more vibrant glow.

Treat Yourself To A Facial. Admittedly, I haven’t done this in ages! But I know when I include this in my overall routine, my skin feels AMAZING even after a couple of sessions. So I highly recommend this! If you’re not comfortable going to a professional spa, there are many home facials you can do yourself that leave your skin feeling extra good!

On that note, I hope you’ve found this useful! If you’re just starting out, take it one step at a time, and keep adding elements to your routine so they become habits. Here is to running WITH beautiful, healthy, vibrant and glowing skin!

Do you have a skin care routine? What else would you add to this list? How often do you get a facial? Do you exfoliate? Let me know in the comments!

I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By MileCoach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running. Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.

28 thoughts on “How To Protect Your Skin As A Runner

  1. Not good about this but not the worst.

    I always wear sunglasses and a hat.

    I wear makeup that sunscreen in it.

    Still lots of room for improvement.

    Thanks for the reminders.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s been forever since I’ve had a facial — even before the Pandemic hit! I do like them, though. And yes, I do try hard to take care of the skin on my face, although I really don’t exfoliate. I do dry brush my body before a shower — I should invest in a dry brush for my face!

    Plus yes, always suncscreen and sunglasses.

    Great tips,. Shathiso!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ve never heard of dry brushing? I’m surprised! It’s a brush with coarse bristles and you brush your body while it’s dry, LOL! It helps to exfoliate your skin. They make a different brush for the body and the face.

        It’s kind of like a loofah, but better, IMHO.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes!! I’ve seen those in the store and have never thought to investigate further! Sounds like a really good exfoliator especially as you have to do it when you’re dry! A loofah is quite soft so I can see why this one would be more effective. You learn every day, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great tips! I stick to the basics (cleansing, moisturizing, wearing sunscreen). I should probably drink more water because my skin is so dry in the winter!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have always had very dry sensitive skin, so I have been a stickler for proper skincare since my teen years. I’m also a bit vain and don’t wish to look any older than my age, LOL…so I wear sunglasses often to prevent as many new wrinkles as possible (with dry skin, I’m extra prone to wrinkles #luckyme).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great tips, Shathiso!
    I could be much better at this! I use water and Nivea every day (super basic) and sunscreen when the sun is out. I should learn to also use it when the sun is not out! You are absolutely right.
    Just the other day I spoke to a runner who has had three surgeries due to malignant moles on her arm. Her story was quite scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I regret not taking better care from the sun when I was younger. I am diligent about sunscreen year round now. And all the water!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m really good about doing most of these things… but I can’t stand wearing sunscreen. The chemical smell nauseates me. Sometimes I can tolerate a mineral sunscreen on my shoulders, etc, but I rely on my visor and sunglasses for face protection. I need to find a sunscreen for my face that I can tolerate, because I know this will catch up to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to hate how sticky sunscreen was but they are much improved in that regard. But luckily the smell has never gotten to me! I wonder if you could even be allergic to them? Best of luck finding one that works but well done for using those other precautions in the meantime!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sometimes I wear a hat, but I always drink plenty of water and exfoliate about 2 times a week. I love how my skin feels after I do it. I mainly wear sunscreen during the Summer but know that I should do it year round. Will I ever learn?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a great post, Shathiso!

    After having had 52 basal cell carcinomas (yes, 52), 2 squamous cell carcinomas, and 2 early stage melanomas, I am all over using sunscreen. I prefer to run before the sun comes up, but with early clients that isn’t always possible. I have had all of these skin cancers because I abused my skin when I was younger while trying to get the perfect tan. I had many very bad sunburns over the years and sunscreen wasn’t common until I was in college (and even if it had been, I doubt I would have used it because I wanted the perfect tan).

    I am very good about applying sunscreen these days. One of my face sunscreen has a built in tint so I it doesn’t give me that ghoulish look. LOL


  10. These are good tips for me, especially since I’m not sunburnt, and I don’t even run that far. I’ve since moved my runs to before sunrise, so that’s helped a little. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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