Your love for running puts your skin at risk. This is what to do.

So you have a love for running. That’s great. Running has proven benefits for your overall health, your mental well-being, and your skin. But when it comes to your skin, there’s a love/hate relationship with the sun you are exposing it to. See how you can keep doing what you love while protecting your skin -  the biggest organ in your body.

Skin cancer risk for runners

An Archives of Dermatology study in 2014 found that marathoners showed increased numbers of abnormal moles and age spots, putting them at higher risk for malignant melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.

What is melanoma?

Of course, this relates to the number of direct sunlight runners are exposed to.

The study focused on marathoners, but everyday recreational runners are having the same problem. In the research it even showed that “long-term intense exercise can suppress the immune system, increasing vulnerability to skin damage” – causing the skin to be even more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays.

Skin aging? We say no!

UV is the most common cause of skin cancer but also contributes to 90% of visible signs of skin aging. Such as age spots and wrinkles. And who wants those?

There’s also good news.

You don’t have to stop running. Not even close. Exposure to the sun is part of a healthy lifestyle. It gets Vitamin D into your body – which is essential for your mental and physical well-being.

To illustrate this: More than three-quarters of the U.S. population is deficient in Vitamin D, which is associated in several studies with depression, bone fractures, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.

So keep running. And keep loving the sun. But always make sure to:

·  Apply sunscreen (30+) on your body before going out to run. And try to avoid the most intense hours (1-3 pm) of the sun.

·  Wear protective clothing, also on your head.

·  Look out for suspicious skin spots often. Self-check!

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