How To Take Care Of Your Skin As A Runner

Author profile image of Dalia Hawley
Author: Dalia Hawley
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Skin care for runners

As a runner, your skin can be subjected to various factors that may cause damage and irritation, such as exposure to the sun, wind, sweat, and friction. 

It’s important to take care of your skin to keep it healthy and prevent skin problems in the future. These could include issues such as skin cancer risk from not wearing SPF. Dry skin spots, accelerated appearance of aging skin.

I am a trail runner and duathlon enthusiast, spending a lot of time outdoors, gardening, cycling, running and adventuring. 3 years ago I began to study skincare formulation so I could make my own products as I wanted to create minimal fuss free but luxury products for people like me. I’m not someone who wants to spend half a day on a skincare routine. 

This led to me completing my Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and then to setting up Dalia Botanique, a natural skincare brand.

Skincare doesn’t have to be stressful. I have put together a few tips to help you, simple bits that I have learnt along the way.

Protect your skin from the sun

Protect from the sun as a runner

UV rays can cause damage to your skin such as premature aging and a far higher risk of skin cancer, so make sure to apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 before going out for a run.

Many high street moisturisers now carry SPF as standard. I always make sure to use in the morning before going out for a run.

Invest in a good cleanser

Sweat can clog your pores and cause breakouts, so it’s important to clean your skin after a run. Use a gentle cleanser to remove sweat, dirt, and oil. Follow with a UV moisturiser.

Being someone that is often short on time, I like to keep my skincare pretty simple. I always wash my face before a run. I use a oil to milk cleanser first thing as this helps wake me up a bit more post coffee! 

I follow with an SPF. I tend to run off road a lot so as soon as I get home I massage my face with the cleanser then jump in the shower and it wash off as I finish my shower. I massage a few drops of Botanical facial serum into my face whilst it’s still slightly damp as this contains CoQ10 and some powerful plant extracts. 

In the evening post cleanse I use a face cream with retinol, and follow with a  few drops of my serum.

Avoid the dreaded chafe

Friction can cause irritation and chafing, especially in areas where skin rubs against skin or clothing. To prevent chafing, wear moisture-wicking and breathable clothing that fits well. Consider using an anti chafing balm or powder.

After running, have a lukewarm shower so as not to irritate any chafing and apply a good hydrating moisturiser, ideally unscented/for sensitive skin to allow the skin to recover and repair.

Keep your skin moisturised

Runners keep skin mosturised

A good moisturiser includes water that provides your skin with hydration. Apply after cleansing in the evening. Look for extracts such as Coenzyme Q10. This is an antioxidant that helps repair the appearance of sun damage. Other ingredients to look out for include Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerine. These help rehydrate the skin. An Olive based extract called Squalane helps lock in moisture, helps with hydration and keeps dry skin soft. 

I moisturise both morning and evening. In the morning I will use a lighter fast absorbing moisturiser or apply a little bit of the Dalia Botanique oil serum to slightly damp skin in order to lock in moisture. 

In the evening I use a richer moisturiser with various plant actives after cleansing to help my skin recover and repair from the day. Plant actives are compounds extracted from flowers, vegetables and fruit that have the most powerful benefits to the skin.

Moisturisers are a very personal thing. My skin LOVES oils and can tolerate a heavier thicker oil or cream. By having a good skincare routine, my skin looks and feels fresher and brighter which improves my confidence. I would recommend experimenting with a few different oils to find what works for you.

Look after your feet

Running can be tough on your feet, causing blisters, calluses, and dry skin. To prevent blisters, wear proper-fitting shoes and moisture-wicking socks. 

Use a pumice stone to remove calluses, and apply a foot cream after your run and post shower/bath to keep your feet soft and smooth.

Pumice Stone

A good tip is to keep foot cream in the fridge in the summer as it feels lovely and cool.

I am currently working on a hand and foot cream with Chamomile and Calendula so I use a lot of that to moisturise my hands and feet.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water can help keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, and more if you’re running in hot weather. 

Glass of water in the morning

I always try to drink at least 3 cups of water as soon as I have woken up. This is around 650ml. Dehydration is a leading cause of wrinkles in your skin. When you sleep your body becomes dehydrated (due to not drinking all night), so having a drink first thing helps balance this.

The key takeaway is to look after your skin and it will look after you. Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated or long but having a good routine will reduce the appearance of dull lifeless skin and future sun damage. 

You are never too old to start a routine if you haven’t already. Protecting your skin is important at ANY age!

I am the laziest person alive when it comes to skincare; I’m constantly going from swimming to running, cycling or walking outside so my skin is continually exposed to the nasty things in swimming pools, lake and sea water, mud and sweat with very little care in between. Just putting a squirt of cleanser on my face, rubbing it in whilst waiting for the shower to warm up then just rinsing it off is not even an effort for me, my face feels great for it and my skin is clear!

Author profile image of Dalia Hawley
Dalia Hawley

Dalia is the founder of a natural skincare brand, Dalia Botanique and trail runner and duathlon fan from Yorkshire. She got into running around 2014 after giving up smoking and decided to do a 5k with a mate one day! After trying running on and off in years previous, it had never quite stuck until now. She gave up smoking and running became a regular hobby! She eventually swapped from tarmac to forest trails and mountains. Running is a time to explore, spend time in nature and beautiful places and have uninterrupted time away from daily life. Dalia's partner is an experienced fell runner so they often go off road running together or solo.

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