As the largest organ of the body, the skin’s primary function is to shield it from harm. So why not return the favor, and protect it, as well? “It is important to be mindful of your future self,” says Phillip M. Ecker, MD, of Minnesota Dermatology (part of Pinnacle Dermatology).
We all need to protect our skin, but student athletes encounter different circumstances that need special attention. Dr. Ecker provides skincare tips for teen athletes, but everyone can benefit from his suggestions.
Back to the Basics
Dr. Ecker says that people often skip simple steps that could prevent the root of their skin issues from the start.
Three steps for every skin type:
- Apply sunscreen daily with 30 SPF or higher to protect the skin from UV radiation.
- Apply retinoids nightly to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, keep pores open and help increase natural collagen production.
- Apply an antioxidant, such as a Vitamin C, to decrease DNA damage over time.
Prevent and Protect
Athletes are exposed to a lot of bacteria from other opponents, equipment (think wrestling mats and game balls, for example) and protective gear, such as pads, chinstraps, faceguards and helmets. Though some acne is unavoidable, teens can take measures to decrease the risk of infection and clogged pores by regularly cleaning their gear, cleansing their faces and bathing after intensive workouts and competitions.
Reapply and Replenish
Winter and aquatic athletes go through constant wet-to-dry cycles, causing increased dryness to the skin. To combat this dehydration, regularly moisturize skin after the activities. For outdoor athletes, Dr. Ecker urges them to be mindful of the sun and its strength. He suggests that athletes reapply their sunscreen every two to three hours to ensure full protection.
Considering lotion’s propensity to stream into wearers’ eyes, especially through sweat and weather-related conditions, athletes should opt for a sports sunscreen, which provides a greasier consistency that adheres better to the skin. If lotion isn’t for you, opt for a visor or cap to shade the face from the beaming rays.