4 Ways for Runners to Protect Their Skin from the Sun

Runners often underestimate the damage that the sun can do to their skin during a daily training session, but even the fastest of runners can't outpace the sun's rays. If you like to run, make sure you protect yourself from skin damage by taking the following steps during times of the year when the sun is at its fiercest.

1. Run During Twilight

The best thing you can do during times of the year when the sun is strong is simply running when it isn't at its peak. The sun's rays will be at their most damaging at noon, so avoid running at this time of the day and your skin will thank you; you'll also be less liable to suffer from heat stroke. The best times of the day to run will be just after dawn or during sunset.

2. Apply Sunscreen Well Before Running

If you have to run while the sun is beating down, make sure you wear sunscreen. Many runners will skip this step because they don't like the feeling of running with sunscreen on. After all, it provides an additional barrier through which sweat has to travel, often making people feel clammy and uncomfortable. Even worse, that excess sweat can make sunscreen that has just been applied sun away or be rubbed off. The best thing you can do is apply a high SPF sunscreen around half an hour before running. It should have been absorbed enough to provide protection, but you won't feel it as much as you would after applying it right away.

3. Wear the Right Kit

Running shirtless, no matter the heat, should be avoided altogether, but people often make the mistake of assuming that all clothes will provide complete protection from UV rays. This is not the case. Lighter materials will be penetrated, and that puts runners at risk since they tend to wear very lightweight, breathable clothing that offer very little in the way of UV protection. Luckily, you should be able to find specialty running clothes that have been designed to protect against the sun. If you can't find any, try to wear something that is tightly woven and relatively dark in colour for the time being.

4. Add a Hat for Longer Runs

If you expect to be running further than a couple of miles, it's well worth buying a hat with a flap that extends across the back of your neck. This area of your body is particularly at risk from the sun, so it only makes sense to provide additional protection. As an added plus, you'll also help keep the full heat of the sun from hitting your head.

For more information about how to protect your skin, contact a dermatologist in your area.