The Importance of Skincare for Athletes
Out of the long list of things athletes have to worry about: muscle damage, ligament damage, technique, soft tissue damage, recovery time, diet, etc… Skincare doesn’t tend to rank very highly. We think this is a mistake, particularly for sports which require strain on your hands such as weight lifting, rowing and obstacle racing.
Skin is a fairly delicate thing that if damaged, needs a good amount of time to heal before being used again. This can be an infuriating and tedious process for those of us who don’t want to or can’t afford to have time off from our work-out routines. Here at w.o.d.w, it still surprises us that athlete skincare hasn’t become a bigger thing on the market considering the importance of it for the progress and comfort of athletes.
In almost all other areas of sports’ equipment and care, there have been big technological advances and innovations to make activities easier and better for athletes. However, skincare still hasn’t been fully acknowledged as a key part of caring for yourself and improving your performance.
Skin is our shell, our biggest organ and a part of us that is vital for our every day existence. If our skin is in ill-health, it takes its toll on both our physical and mental wellbeing; particularly for athletes. As well as these unignorable and incredibly important endorsements for the significance of athlete skincare, we’ve put together a list of why else it’s so important for you, as athletes to really care for the skin that helps you win:
- If your skin gets damaged during a work out or in training, it will massively hinder your ability to perform afterwards - perhaps for up to several weeks
- Torn and damaged skin particularly on your hands is painful and will get in the way of your everyday life as well as your training
- Whilst calluses look fine when you’re in the gym or competing in an obstacle race, they’re not appealing at work, in the bar or for cuddling children!
- Rough hands are uncomfortable and skin will crack easily meaning that your skin can tear and rip even when you’re not training
- Open wounds can become infected when coming into contact with external objects such as a weight bar
- Damaging any part of your body through training is a bad thing
All skin is different and and therefore demands different treatment which is why we offer a variety of different skincare products to help soothe and heal any damage. However, one thing we know to be true about all skin is that no matter how invincible we think it may be, it has a breaking point! Trying to prevent initial damage is just as important as treating it afterwards so treating your skin right all the time is vital.
There a variety of other ways to try and prevent your skin from being damaged during exercising but none of which we’ve found half as effective as . However, there ‘s no harm in doubling up on preventative measures to reduce the risk of tearing your hands. These are several other options to consider trying that we’ve come up with to help with preventing tears:
- Keep hydrated. If your skin isn’t hydrated it is more likely to crack and break. If there’s more moisture in your skin, it will have more flexibility, be softer and therefore reduce the changes of damage
- Eating lots of protein. For us gym goers, we already know the importance of protein for muscle repair but it’s important to remember that protein also repairs skin and all other organs in your body. You can reduce the healing time of a cut or skin tear by ensuring that you take in a high amount of protein. This will also strengthen your skin, making it less likely to break to begin with
- Wear gloves. Where possible, wear gloves that are suited to your sport. Although these can be uncomfortable and smelly sometimes, they’re a great way of preventing damage to your hands. Whilst we believe you can get better grip without gloves, if you’re struggling, we recommend getting your hands on (or in) a pair!
- All of the above doesn’t just apply exclusively to hand injuries, but general skin injuries caused by sport. Tearing and damage can occur on any part of the body that comes into contact with necessary equipment whether that be on your hands, legs, neck or feet. This is why it’s so important to look after every inch of your skin by keeping it hydrated, moisturised and supple
- Use chalk for lifting. Similarly to wearing gloves, if you use the right amount of chalk, it reduces friction between your hands and the bar. However, if you use too much chalk, it will have the opposite effect and create more friction
Whilst in an ideal world, we would all remember to take the right precautions and use our cream regularly, sometimes life can get in the way and make it tough to keep up a skin maintenance routine. So, if your skin does tear or get damaged what should you do?
- Clean it. Make sure you wash the tear with warm water and soap. If the tear is really bad, then you might want to use iodine to help ensure it’s cleaned properly
- Get rid of any excess skin. Cut away any excess skin if it looks like it might catch or tear further with sterilized scissors
- Bandage it up and rub on some salve to keep it moist. As with any cut or open wound, the best way to make it heal quickly is to keep the wound moist as this will stop any further damage.
We’re so passionate about getting the message across to all athletes that skincare is so important for both training and general health. We hope we’ve outlined in enough detail why you need to make sure your skin is looked after, how it can affect you and your training and if you are to get injured, the best way to fix it. What we’d most like to highlight is the fact that you need to keep up your skincare regime whether you’re training or not so that when push comes to shove, you won’t have to worry about your skin.