How many times have you ended up looking like a lobster after a race? I’m sure it’s more than you want to admit. In this post you are going to learn how to take care of your skin before, during and after a race.
Here are a few tips/tricks to help you understand how to take care of your skin before, during and after a race and to keep yourself from getting sunburned at your next race or during a long training day!
Prevention – this is the REALLY important stuff
Put your sunscreen on before you leave the house. Preferably without your top on to make sure you cover your entire torso without having to go around clothes. Race morning can be hectic so you might (you will) forget to put on the SPF. If you happen to remember again before the race go ahead and put more on (I’ll give you lots of gold stars).
This season I switched to racing in a one-piece short sleeve kit during triathlons for the additional sun protection. Now I don’t have to worry about putting sunscreen on my back, shoulders, upper arms, and lower back (you know that tramp stamp area that always gets fried!) Yes, it takes a little longer in the bathroom but dealing with skin cancer would be way more of a pain in the ass! Lastly, wear a hat/visor and sunglasses. The hat is great to put ice in for hot races. Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from flying road debris they also prevent “crows feet” and “11s.”
If you are racing anything longer than an Olympic you MUST reapply sunscreen! Let me repeat REAPPLY!! Sunscreens are only water resistant for 80 minutes. Your race will take longer than 80 minutes… REAPPLY. I kept a travel size sunscreen in my bento box during Galveston 70.3 and put it on my arms during the bike. I also keep a travel size sunscreen in my jersey pocket on longer rides.
You’ll want to wipe off all of the lake water/chlorine, sweat, salt, boogers, and whatever else ended up on your face. Keep a package of facial cleansing wipes in your transition bag. After you get all of the grime off, yep you guessed it put more sunscreen on.
Next get out of your chamois. It’s basically a soggy sweat filled diaper that you’ve peed in (Don’t lie. Yes, you did.) and you’re walking around in it for hours post race. Even worse driving home in it or going out to eat post race. Gross. People, seriously. Your junk is rotting off.
At home care
If you are sunburned, after re-reading the Prevention section, focus on soothing the area with the following steps:
- Cover the area with cool compresses to help minimize pain and take the sting out of the skin.
- Apply Aloe Vera, calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. These anti-inflammatory solutions will help the sunburn heal quicker. I like to use a product from PCA Skin called CliniCalm it contains 1% hydrocortisone along with other soothing ingredients to calm the inflammation in the area.
- Keep the sunburned area moisturized, especially in the days following. This will help to minimize peeling.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink extra water or even drink something with some electrolytes like Gatorade Endurance. Sunburns steal moisture from the rest of the body to repair the parched skin.
- Stay out of the sun. Duh.
Extra TLC for your face
You ask a lot of you body during training and racing and that stress will eventually show up in your face. I’m sure you can think of some pros that look WAY older than they should.
If your face is NOT sunburned – Use a gentle exfoliating scrub or mask followed by a soothing/hydrating mask. The exfoliating scrub or mask will help to get the dead skin cells off of the surface of your skin. Think of the soothing/hydrating mask as the icing on the cake.
If your face is sunburned, use a soothing/hydrating mask, and then apply aloe or the CliniCalm with a moisturizer.
Key takeaway… REAPPLY sunscreen, cover up, and save your junk.
Thanks for reading this all the way to the end, Mom! 😉