By Marli Naidoo
Recovery is a big part of every athlete’s routine and it is one of the biggest determiners of success. Athletes who participate in outdoor sports spend a lot of time in the sun. When you get skin burns on a warm day, your body will focus more on the recovery of your burnt skin than on the recovery of your muscles and organs after exercise.
Sunburn can cause dehydration which may lead to the expansion of your blood vessels because your body is sending more blood to your skin. Thus, you lose a lot of moisture.
Then, of course, there is the risk of skin cancer. The idea that you’ll look better with a tanned skin or that your skin is too dark to be damaged by the sun is false. The darkening of your skin is your body’s reaction to ultraviolet damaging. It increases your risk to get skin cancer.
The protection offered by your SPF-15 face cream is not nearly enough to protect you from the harmful sunrays and your body consists out of more than just a face. If you are wondering when to apply sunscreen, you should have already applied some. A good policy is to wear it whenever you are going outside.
Research found that people tend to only apply a very thin layer of sunscreen when the instructions suggest generous application. Approximately two tablespoons worth of cream per application is enough. It is also important to reapply sunscreen every few hours.
Exercise increase photo sensitivity and when you are sweating your sunscreen does not last as long. According to researchers, surfers have three times more chance to suffer from skin cancer possibly because of the reflection of the sun on the water which multiplies exposure. Choose a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Buy yourself exercise clothes designed to offer protection against the sun. Also wear a hat when you can, and UV-protected sunglasses. We tend to forget that our eyes are also sensitive to the sun.
Athletes who daily spend time in the sun should strongly consider visiting a dermatologist. Your skin is just as important as any other part of your body and should enjoy the same care.