When people start building up thier running to prepare for an event such as a marathon, most will implement strategies to help reduce the chance of calf, hamstring or knee injuries – and so they should. Many people however don’t really think of injuries or issues to do with the skin, so in this piece I will explore the incidence of issues such as blisters, chafing, and sunburn in running events and training, supported by research published in renowned scientific journals.
Blisters: The Bane of Runners
Blisters are a common skin injury experienced by many runners. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined blister prevalence in two major marathons, the London and Singapore marathons. The research involved 63 participants in the London Marathon and 109 participants in the Singapore Marathon. It was found that 46% of the London runners and 36% of the Singapore runners developed blisters during the race. The most affected areas were the feet, particularly the toes and heels.
Chafing: The Friction-Induced Skin Problem
Chafing, characterised by redness, irritation, and sometimes even painful skin sores, is another frequent skin injury encountered during running events. A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport investigated chafing prevalence in a sample of 300 runners from the New York City Marathon. The research revealed that 68% of the participants experienced chafing in various body areas, such as the thighs, nipples, and underarms.
Sunburn: The Unseen Danger
Runners often expose themselves to prolonged sun exposure during training and race day, making them susceptible to sunburn. While sunburn is not exclusive to running events, it poses a significant risk due to the extended duration spent outdoors. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology examined the incidence of sunburn in marathon runners participating in the Honolulu Marathon. The research involved 250 participants, and the results showed that approximately 27% of the runners experienced sunburn, with the most affected areas being the face, arms, and legs.
Preventing Skin Issues in Running
To minimise the incidence of skin injuries during running events and training, it is essential for runners to adopt preventive measures. Here are some key strategies:
- Get the right shoes: go to a podiatrist or specialist running footwear retailer with educated staff to ensure you get the right shoes for your feet. The right shoes will help reduce the chance of blisters on the feet.
- Use moisture wicking socks: water-logged, macerated skin is fragile and can tear easily – forming as blisters on the feet. Utilizing moisture-wicking socks will help maintain drier feet, and reduce the chance of blisters.
- Apply anti friction balm to areas prone to chafing: including the feet, thighs, nipples and under the arms. The Premax Anti Friction Balms for Men & Women have been developed with some of the best athletes in the world and are endurance focused, allow the skin to breathe and contain natural ingredients that help fight bacteria and infections.
Photo: Premax Anti Friction Balms will keep you chafe-free
- Wear seamless and moisture-wicking clothing: seams particularly can cause friction related issues, so invest in high quality technical apparel that been designed for endurance athletes
- Protect yourself from the sun: wear a cap/visor and sunglasses, and for exposed skin apply a high protection, sports specific sunscreen that allows your skin to perspire normally, such at the Premax Sports Sunscreen SPF 50+.
Photo: apply sunscreen to exposed skin when running
Prioritising your skin health is crucial for optimising your running performance, preventing injuries, and maintaining overall well-being. Discover the wide range of sports-specific skincare products offered by Premax, tailored specifically for athletes of all levels. Whether you need anti-friction balm, high-protection sunscreen, or warm-up and recovery creams, Premax has you covered. Check out our range today!