Skin Care for Athletes
According to Dr. Brian Burke Adams, associate professor at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, infections are the most common cause of skin problems in athletes. Bacteria can cause any number of skin disorders ranging from herpes to impetigo and staph infections. Athletes who play sports outdoors are at a greater risk of skin cancer from ultraviolet exposure. You can, however, take precautions as an athlete to avoid complications and keep your skin healthy.
Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sweating decreases the skin's natural protection against harmful rays. High levels of sunscreen, of at least 50 sun protection factor, or SPF, are most effective, but all sunscreen must be continually reapplied as you sweat.
Choose hypoallergenic and oil-free sunscreen to avoid further skin complications. According to Princeton University Health Services, prickly heat is a common disorder in athletes. Prickly heat is a rash that typically appears on the chest and arms when pores become clogged and you become overheated. The condition is exacerbated by friction from clothing.
Dress in protective clothing that keeps out the sun's rays if your sport doesn't allow you enough time to keep applying sunscreen. Since the head and back of the neck are particularly vulnerable to persistent rays, wear a hat whenever possible.
Protect your feet by wearing flip-flops in public showers and outdoor places that gather moisture to avoid athlete's foot, a fungal infection that causes itching, burning and stinging on the feet and toes. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommend wearing socks made of wool, cotton or synthetics that soak up excess moisture when you put your shoes back on. Use antifungal powder daily to maintain healthy skin on your feet.
Wash after playing your sport to cleanse your skin of bacteria, oil and dirt. Cleanse with a mild soap to open your pores and prevent breakouts. The fewer ingredients in your cleanser the better.
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