Every athlete wants to avoid sunburn, acne and fungal foot infections. They look bad and make you feel bad—sometimes so bad that they affect your performance. But when the temperature rises, so does the probability of contracting one of these nasty skin conditions. Here’s how stay clear of them all summer long.
Dodge the Lobster Look
Hot temps make it more tempting to wear fewer clothes when playing or training. But going shirtless increases your risk of getting burned. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it only takes 15 minutes before ultraviolet rays begin to affect your skin.
Sunburn might not seem like a big deal, but it can affect your performance. It’s not easy to move or think when every move hurts.
Sunburn is easy to avoid. Simply apply sunscreen, such as Mission All-Sport Spray ($10, missionathletecare.com). Its fast-drying, mess-free formula, with SPF 30, doesn’t feel greasy or slippery on your hands and body, important when you need a secure grip to hold a basketball or a bat. More performance-specific picks:
SCAPE Face Stick, $12, scapelabs.com
Best for: Runners
Running outside puts you at risk for sunburn, because you’re probably pounding the pavement for more than 15 minutes. To protect your skin, use sun protection, especially on your face. Even when sweat pours from your forehead, SCAPE’s sting-free SPF 50+ formula stays on your skin and not in your eyes.
Aveeno HydroSport Lotion, $12, aveeno.com
Best for: Swimmers / Cross-training in the pool
Made with a unique water-repelling formula, the lotion clings to wet skin and won’t wash off.
Fight Fungal Infections
Whether you are heading to your local gym or an overnight sports camp, pack along flip-flops because wearing them can minimize your risk of athlete’s foot. The fungal infection can be contracted when a bare foot makes contact with a moist environment (e.g., a gym locker room or community shower). It causes tiny cracks between your toes, as well as flaking skin, severe itching and burning pain, all of which are needless distractions from your training.
STACK’s Pick: CleenFreek SportsHygiene Sport Slide, $25, cleenfreek.com The shoes have antimicrobial properties to inhibit the growth of odor, bacteria, fungus and mold. They are also slip-resistant, so you won’t slide on a slick shower stall.
If you contract AF, treat it by applying antifungal lotion or powder, like Tinactin, Lotrimin, Lamisil or Desenex. Keep the infected area clean and dry, and change and wash your socks often. Tip: Use a performance-enhanced laundry detergent, such as WIN, to wash your workout clothes, because it’s formulated to destroy bacteria and other viral agents.
Bust Body Breakouts
Sweatbands are great for keeping sweat from your eyes, but wearing them can cause acne, which forms when skin is aggravated by heat and repetitive friction. Keep your face and body clear by using cleansers with salicylic acid, which remove surface oils and unclog pores.
Face: Every Man Jack, $6, everymanjack.com Formulated with salicylic acid to treat and prevent breakouts, this body wash also soothes skin with aloe and chamomile extract.
Body: Neutrogena Body Clear Body Spray, $8.50, neutrogena.com
The quick-drying spray, formulated with salicylic acid, is designed for post-shower use instead of creams, which can seep into clothes.
The downside of salicylic acid is that it can dry out skin, so apply a gentle moisturizer. Try one that’s oil-free and made for sensitive skin: Lubriderm Men’s 3 in-1 Fragrance Free Lotion, $8, lubriderm.com