In 2020, Strava athletes in the US cycled 1.2 billion miles and ran 387 million miles. There’s been a boom in global exercise. But with improved health and fitness comes an unwanted side effect for some exercisers: dry, irritated skin.
If you’re someone who likes to hit a hiking trail or rack up lengths in a swimming pool but suffers from dry skin as a result, this article is for you. There are many ways to manage skin health and repair flaky skin. Our handy guide is here to help.
Dry Skin Defined
First, a quick definition. Your skin is home to a moisture barrier comprised of natural lipids. These help keep moisture in and irritants out. If that protective barrier is damaged, minute cracks appear, and moisture escapes.
There are many causes of dry skin. These range from exercising--and the accompanying chafed skin that may occur--to aging. Other factors include using products that are too harsh and medical conditions.
Whatever the reason – and there may be multiple – there are a host of methods to relieve and repair dry and irritated skin. Read on to find out more.
Anti-Chafing Salve Is a Must
If endurance sports are your thing but you find yourself suffering from extremely dry skin, cut down on friction with an anti-chafe salve. Applying a chafing cream lubricates the skin and is particularly helpful in areas such as thighs, feet, and groin.
Use an all-natural anti-chafe stick to prevent blisters and protect your skin before hitting the sidewalk for a run. Or if you prefer heading out on two wheels, say no to saddle sores with cycling salve.
Bath and Shower Tips
Help heal dry skin and stop it from rearing its ugly head again by using warm water rather than hot. By doing that, you don’t wash away your skin’s natural oils.
What else? Limit your time in the bath or shower to less than 10 minutes. Staying within that time frame means your skin’s oily layer isn’t stripped away.
Wash with gentle and natural products, minimize soap usage, and buy a sulfate-free cleanser to remove dirt and oil.
Keep away from scratchy bath sponges and cloths to avoid damaging your skin. Or use a light touch if you don’t want to stop using them entirely. And after bathing or showering, blot your skin gently with a towel rather than rubbing vigorously.
Invest in a Humidifier
Humidifiers help raise air hydration. How? By forcing moisture into the environment. Keep moisture circulating with a humidifier and help your skin retain its natural moisture.
Control your skin by controlling your environment.
Linked to that point: don’t be tempted to sit right in front of a fireplace. In wintertime, that may be appealing. Pulling up a pew by a crackling fire sounds appealing, right? But your skin may suffer and dry out further.
Restore your skin with an all-natural regenerative slave. Whichever specific skincare products you choose, apply immediately after you bathe or shower. Why? To trap as much moisture in as possible. Leaving your skin bare for even a minute means it will start to dehydrate.
Moisturize to repair cracked skin, say bye-bye to irritated skin, and improve skin health.
And remember: when you’re out and about exercising, be sure to apply a moisturizing lip salve or balm. It’s super important to wear sunscreen, too – whatever the time of year.
Say Yes To Night Creams
Choose one that suits your skin type and let the moisturizer perform its magic. People tend to bypass night creams to let their skin breathe, but nighttime is when your skin’s permeability is at its peak.
Absorption is at its best when you’re at rest.
The moisturizer you choose doesn’t have to be labeled as a night cream. Pick one that works for you and your skin type. Don’t forget to experiment with serums, too. For that extra hydration kick, use under your moisturizer.
Gloves Are the Way Forward
If you’re heading out for a run or a hike – especially in wintertime – don’t forget to protect your hands. Reduce dry skin by donning a pair of thick, waterproof gloves.
For more tips, check out our winter running essentials guide.
Avoid Irritating Clothing
Keep your skin protected and soft by steering clear of rough clothing. Opt for cotton, or even silk if budget permits. And use hypoallergenic detergents.
To improve skin health further, think about using everyday products to moisturize. Dry, flaky skin can benefit from homemade treatments.
For example, use coconut oil to improve skin hydration and increase the number of fats on the skin’s surface. Coconut oil contains saturated fatty acids that moisturize by filling in gaps in dry skin.
Or how about an oatmeal bath? It’s said that adding oatmeal powder to water can be effective at relieving dry skin. How? Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Sunflower oil can also be applied to extremely dry skin to help hydrate it. And it’s been suggested that honey can relieve dry skin too.
Banish Dry, Irritated Skin
MapMyRun saw a 65% increase in runs logged in 2020. That’s great news for health and fitness, but what about the impact on the exerciser’s skin? Endurance sports such as hiking, ultrarunning, and mountain biking can leave you with flaky and irritated skin.
There are a number of simple ways to deal with extremely dry skin. These range from humidifiers and better bathing routines to anti-chafing creams and all-natural skin products.
Keen to restore your skin and be chafe-free? Head on over to our online store and get browsing.