Summer skincare cures for athletes

You cannot deny that the warmth of the sun and the burn of those working muscles are a bittersweet triumph. And while training outside has its fair share of benefits, the toll it takes on your skin can be worrisome. Below we research all the solutions to all your skincare problems, whether you prefer the natural way or over the counter, say goodbye to summer skin problems.

Problem 1: Skin allergies
It’s all fun and games until you are hit with a stuffy nose, dry, itchy eyes and irritated skin. But with some fun in the sun comes the expense of pollen accompanied by an array of allergies. Many athletes experience eczema when training, the combination of sweat, allergies and constant rubbing of your skin against sweaty clothing can aggravate your eczema even more.

Natural Solution:
Using Rooibos is perfect for sensitive skin, and it’s a cheaper alternative to pharmaceutical ointments. Add a few Rooibos teabags to your next bath or even dab a piece of cotton wool with cooled Rooibos on the affected area. Avoid rubbing the affected area; this will make the itching or burning even worse.

Other solutions:
If you prefer over-the-counter creams and ointments, then go for an antihistamine cream with hydrocortisone. Look out for creams with menthol or chamomile to soothe a burning or itching sensation. You can chat with your doctor about emollients, steroid creams and antibiotics to combat eczema.

Problem 2: Sunburn
You’ve focused hard on your training. You’re outdoors every day, cycling, running, or playing sports, a few days later you wake up with red, blotchy and sore skin. You’ve got sunburn. It’s quite common to forget to apply sunscreen, and when sweating profusely, you might need to reapply often to avoid burning.

Natural Solution:
With its anti-inflammatory, moisturising, antimicrobial and emollient properties, Aloe Vera a natural way to soothe the effects of sunburn. There are over-the-counter products that contain Aloe Vera as an active ingredient, but if you prefer the 100% organic way, then split open an Aloe Vera leaf and remove the gel-like substance. Apply this to your skin or use it as a face mask. The Aloe will soothe your skin and reduce redness.

Other solutions:
Alternative home remedies include dabbing coconut oil, oatmeal, cold milk compress or cucumber to the affected areas. Also, pick products with herbal ingredients such as Arnica and Echinacea. There are many after-sun creams you can find at your local store that will do the trick. Prevention is always better than cure so don’t forget to put on sunscreen with a high SPF level before being exposed to the sun.

Problem 3: Heat rash
Common in babies, heat rash can also affect adults. Profuse sweating, warmer climates and wearing ill-fitting clothing can contribute to heat rash. It’s often characterized by red bumps on the skin containing trapped sweat and in some cases, it can even produce pus. Heat rash is also commonly referred to as “prickly heat” as it causes a prickly sensation in the affected area. In severe cases heat rash can harm the sweat glands, so be sure to get your skin checked if you experience intense pain.

Solutions:
A mild heat rash can usually go away on its own, but if the issue persists, you can use calamine lotion to calm the irritated area. Avoid using ointments and creams, because it might block the pores even further.

Other solutions:
In a hot climate wear light, loose clothing or clothing that wicks away moisture your skin releases. Always wear fresh workout gear and don’t stay in sweaty togs for too long. Use a gentle shower soap without dyes and fragrances that won’t dry your skin out.

Problem 4: Chafing
Whether you’re cycling, or in the midst of an intense workout session chafing can be a major irritation. Chafing occurs when there’s constant friction between skin or skin and material. This could develop into a red and inflamed rash. Being overweight, excessive sweating, and wearing the wrong clothing can also cause chafing.

Solution:
Something as simple as a few ice cubes in a dish towel can calm the irritation, even lightly washing the affected area with cold water will soothe the skin. Cold water reduces the redness and provides a cooling effect; then within a few days, the rash will be gone. Other natural solutions include Aloe Vera, oatmeal, turmeric, baking soda and olive oil.

Other solutions:
If the affected area needs extra care, consider ointments or creams with antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal or disinfectant properties. This will make sure the chafing heals faster and therefore you can continue to train as per usual. Some creams not only repair chaffed skin but prevent it too, ensuring a chafing-free workout. Just remember to wear the correct clothing and try to keep your skin well cool and dry throughout.

Problem 5: Acne breakouts
The combination of sweat, bacteria and oil secreted through your pores when you exercise, can lead to acne breakouts. Switching up your daily face wash and moisturiser could be enough to combat the breakouts.

Solution:
Blotting the sweat with a clean towel instead of wiping can help to limit the spread of acne-causing bacteria. Lingering too long in sweaty clothes won’t help either. So make sure that even your accessories are clean such as your peak cap or headband.

Other solutions:
Using the incorrect face wash can cause adverse skin reactions during summer. Choose a face wash with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid for a thorough cleanse. And moisturise. It’s easy to think that less moisturiser will result in less oily skin, but on the contrary, if your skin lacks moisture, it will overcompensate by secreting more oil. A nourishing moisturiser with added SPF is your best bet.

Take care of your skin when you’re young, and it will serve you well in the future.