Soweto Marathon

5 common skin problems runners deal with

2015-10-14 12:33

The five skin conditions most often seen in athletes are blisters; turf burn (abrasions from falls on an artificial surface); athlete's foot (a fungal infection); sun exposure, and a type of acne called acne mechanica, according to the American Academy of Dermatology in their news release.

"Athletes who are aware of these five common issues can take action to prevent the vast majority of dermatologic problems they may encounter," said Dr. Brian Adams, professor and chair of dermatology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in the USA.

Blisters are caused by heat, moisture and friction between the skin and shoes. Adams said the best way to prevent blisters is to wear synthetic, moisture-wicking socks, which help keep the skin cool and dry.

If you do get a blister, drain the fluid through one small point and keep the rest of the blister as intact as possible, because the skin provides good natural protection to promote healing, Adams said. It's also important to keep the blister clean, he said.

Turf burns, which occur when you skid across grass or astro turf, put athletes at risk for skin infection. Reduce the risk of turf burns by wearing additional padding, he suggested. If you suffer a turf burn, clean it carefully, apply a friction-reducing substance such as petroleum jelly and cover it with an adhesive dressing.

Athlete's foot can be prevented by wearing synthetic, moisture-wicking socks and by wearing sandals in locker rooms and showers. If you're prone to athlete's foot, use an antifungal cream as a preventive measure, Adams said.

Acne mechanica, also known as sports-induced acne - is caused by heat, moisture, friction and clogged pores. It often occurs in areas where helmets, pads or other equipment cover skin and rub against it for an extended length of time.

To prevent the condition, place a barrier between the skin and equipment and shower as soon as your training is done.

Athletes are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light when they play outdoors in the daytime, even on cloudy days and in the winter. This can lead to sunburns and skin damage. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher, and apply to all exposed skin, including the ears and hair parts, he recommended. Reapply at least every two hours that you're outside.

If you encounter any of these skin problems, a dermatologist can help treat them.

Blister on heel, Shutterstock

Read more on:    sport  |  health

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