Why runners need sunscreen and how to choose it

The sun is dangerous. With this fact, it remains only to accept and take care of the protection. Regular outdoor athletes need not worry about a lack of vitamin D, but recreational runners often overlook the harmful effects of the sun on the skin.

If you run in the same climate where you were born and live, you most likely have some sort of natural immunity to the harmful effects of the sun, but you shouldn’t rely on it alone. It only helps not to burn in the first few minutes after going out.

Everyone needs extra protection to guard against nasty problems in the future: from burns and photoaging to certain types of cancer. And it is not at all recommended to neglect security measures if you, a resident of the middle lane, decide to conquer Elbrus or go to a training camp in a sports camp somewhere on the coast.

Extra caution should be exercised by people with fair skin and red hair, as well as by owners of a large number of moles.

If you really don’t want to slather on something without a craving, check the weather forecast. In meteorological applications, the solar activity index is often indicated: when it is greater than two, you must protect yourself.

How to choose a sunscreen: read the label

You can buy the first cream that comes your way and feel wild discomfort while jogging, when it starts flowing into your eyes in white streams, then you’ll be surprised to find a burnt nose. Therefore, we recommend that you carefully study the packaging of the product before purchasing it. Here are the parameters to pay attention to.

FPS is a sun protection factor. The higher the number, the lower the percentage of solar radiation that passes through the product and the longer you can stay under ultraviolet rays.

The WHO recommends using creams with an SPF of at least 15, but long-distance runners should heed the American Academy of Dermatology, which insists on a minimum level of SPF 30, because you’ll spend at least half an hour outside.

The highest level of protection is SPF 50. If the number is higher on the packaging, it is just a marketing gimmick.

UVA/UVB. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation: A and B (actually there is also C, but you don’t have to worry about that – it is completely absorbed by the atmosphere). SPF mainly protects against B-rays, which cause sunburn, but protection against A-rays is also essential, as they are responsible for skin breakdown and premature aging. Therefore, make sure the product says “UVA/UVB protection” or “broad spectrum”.

Filters are physical and chemical.

  • Physical agents include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide – the so-called inorganic blockers that cover the skin with an outer “shield” that reflects and scatters ultraviolet light.
  • Chemical filters are organic compounds such as avobenzone or octinoxate. They are absorbed by the skin and absorb the UV rays that fall on them, turning them into heat.

There is no particular difference in application between the two types of filters, choose what suits you best. Disadvantages of chemical blockers include the possibility of allergies, although this is rare in practice. Physical blockers can leave a white film on the skin if the particles aren’t small enough, but modern products usually don’t.

Raincoat. Although no product is truly waterproof, it is best to choose products labeled as such. For runs lasting up to an hour and a half, the protection should suffice even with heavy sweating.

How to properly apply sunscreen

There are two fundamental points: do it in advance and in sufficient volume. That is, 15-20 minutes before sun exposure and a non-thin even coat. Excess funds, if any, will have time to be absorbed during this period.

Apply the cream to all exposed areas of the skin. Don’t forget your ears and neck!

How else can you protect yourself?

Hooray for modern sportswear brands and their technical fabric for summer training, which is often not only light and absorbent, but also equipped with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor). The numbers on it are about the same as on the SPF, it is better to take higher.

If you’re going to run in the sun, however tempting you may be to wear the lightest t-shirt, better opt for off the shoulder t-shirt because they burn very quickly and strongly.

do not forget hairdressing. A cap or visor will provide additional shade to the face, protect the head from the sun and prevent the streams of sweat from flowing from the forehead to the eyes.

Try not to exercise during the period of greatest solar activity (usually between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and choose heavily shaded routes.