It’s only natural that when the weather is nicer, we are more active. Participating in outdoor sports is good for the body and the soul. You get a necessary dose of Vitamin D, and the sunshine naturally uplifts your mood. Despite these benefits, it is important to not forget about skin protection as you hit the trails, work on improving your golf swing or whatever else the outdoors may be calling you to do!
Here are some important tips to remember as you spend time outside exercising.
1. Wear and reapply sunblock
Sunscreen application is not a “one and done” activity. This is especially true if you will be outside for many hours during the day and perspiring. Apply a zinc oxide-based sunblock before you head out the door. Make sure that you put it on your face after cleansing and on any exposed areas of the body. It is also important to wear a lip balm with SPF. Many sunblocks contain harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, which can absorb through the skin are linked to hormone-disrupting effects, so that’s why I suggest using a zinc oxide based sunblock. You can even find small tinted versions that are easy to take on-the-go.
Reapply your sunblock every two hours, especially if you are sweating a lot. When it is hot and humid, just about every sport will make you sweat! If you are swimming, reapply sunblock more often.
A word of caution: Don’t let shaded areas, such as golf carts or baseball dugouts, trick you into a false sense of security. These areas do not provide much shade, and the protection is temporary as the sun moves through the day.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
While playing sports in the summer, we are more prone to dehydration. Runner’s World recommends that runners take a “sweat test” to figure out how much hydration they need during a run. In their hydration guidelines, the average person who weighs 140 pounds and is running in 80-degree weather needs to consume five ounces of water per mile run. The more you weigh, the more water you will need. That adds up quickly!
Staying hydrated is critical to keep energy levels up and maintains nourished skin at the same time. There are many sugary sports drinks designed to replace electrolytes lost while sweating. Sugar increases blood sugar and leads to skin inflammation, so be mindful of your sugar intake. And, be sure to check labels for artificial ingredients. Fortunately, there are healthier options. Drinking pure coconut water is an excellent way to replace electrolytes lost through sweating.
3. Wear sun-protective clothing
Clothing and accessories play a role in protecting skin from the sun. Baseball hats, visors, and helmets with visors help protect your face from the sun. You can choose the hat that best fits your activity. Sunglasses are also essential, protecting your eyes and the skin around them.
There are also many athletic clothes designed with fabrics that have UV-blocking traits. While shopping for clothes to wear for outdoor sports, look for clothing with UPF ratings. UPF stands for “Ultraviolet Protection Factor,” and you can get extra sun protection from wearing them. Clothing with UPF ratings is similar to SPF protection numbers. For example, a rating of 25 UPF means the fabric allows 1/25th (4%) of UV radiation to pass through it. Clothing labeled UPF 40-50+ has excellent UV protection qualities. Clothing that hugs the body blocks more UV radiation, and it is typically more comfortable to wear for athletics.
4. What to do about sunburn
Unfortunately, the sun can sneak up on us despite our best efforts, and that may lead to sunburn. To repair damage from excess sun exposure, it is important to moisturize your skin with gentle and clean non-toxic skin care products. Pure aloe vera gel (without added artificial color and other ingredients) is known for its excellent ability to soothe skin and has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. If you have an aloe vera plant at home, you can cut open the leaves and squeeze the gel out. The Spa Dr. Daily Essentials 4-step skin care system contains aloe.
And keep your skin hydrated to avoid peeling by using skin care products containing plant-based oils. Avoid synthetic oils such as mineral oil and petroleum-based products since there are concerns of contamination, and they lack the antioxidants that you’ll find in plant-based oils. Natural skin care oils such as argan oil, pomegranate seed oil, raspberry seed oil, and almond oil are nourishing and moisturizing to the skin.
5. Take a rejuvenating body soak
If you spent the day swimming or spent most of the day sweating during a long family volleyball game, your skin probably feels dry and dehydrated from extended sun exposure, and it might even feel itchy and uncomfortable. Bug bites add to even more discomfort. That means it is time for full-body skin replenishment! If your skin needs a reset, I recommend taking an oatmeal bath. This treatment delivers full-body care and is easy to do! All you need is 1 to 2 cups of organic, whole raw oats.
Draw a warm bath. Place the oats in a thin sock, bandana, or another thin piece of cotton fabric and secure with a rubber band or string. Place the oat sachet in the bath, step in, and relax. Squeeze the sock periodically to release the skin-nourishing oats into the water. Enjoy this healing soak for at least 10 minutes. No need to rinse your body afterward unless it feels sticky or uncomfortable. You can even rub the oats over your skin if desired.
If your muscles are tired or sore, you can replace the oat bath with an Epsom salt bath. Since Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, it helps relax your muscles. Just add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a standard-size bathtub filled with warm water. Soak for 10 to 20 minutes. Bedtime is the best time for this bath ritual since it also helps soothe your mind and prepare you for sleep, especially when you add a few drops of organic lavender essential oil.
6. Hit a skin care home run
Participating in outdoor sports leads to improved well-being. Being active is good for the body and improves mental health. By wearing proper clothing, sunblock, and drinking enough water, you can protect your body from sun damage and dehydration. Spend time with friends and family doing your favorite activities, and keep your skin safe at the same time!