Ever come home after a long run under the summer sun with bright red skin or an aching sunburn? Whether you’re a recreational jogger or professional runner, your skin can still get damaged by the sun’s rays. This can cause sunburns and skin damage, and can even lead to skin cancer further down the road. So what can you do before heading out for a run? Here’s some of the best ways to protect your skin from the sun’s rays while running or jogging.
Slap on that sunscreen
One of the most important things to do when you’re going out for a run is to put on your sunscreen. Remember to pick one that’s broad-spectrum with an SPF of at least 30. A sports formula that’s sweat-resistant is also recommended since you’ll most likely be working up a sweat during your run. Remember to apply it to every sun exposed area, including the rim of ears and back of your neck. You can also protect your lips by wearing a lip balm with SPF.
Besides sunscreen, another good form of sun protection is to cover up with clothing and a hat. Not all clothing blocks UV rays equally, so UV protective clothing is advised. There’s many brands out there that sell UV protective clothing that are designed specifically for running and sportswear. You can also find sun protective arm sleeves, which will not only protect your arms from the sun’s rays, but also provide compression and wick away moisture. Make sure to also throw on a hat to protect your head and face from the sun. Again, there are special caps that are designed for running and outdoor activities. These caps are designed to pull away moisture and keep sweat from dripping down and affecting your vision.
Protect Your Eyes
It’s not just your skin that can get damaged by the sun; your eyes can also fall victim. Sunglasses are the way to go to protect your eyes and the tender skin around them. There are special sunglasses that are made specifically for running to maximize performance. These are designed to be lightweight and durable, so they won’t fall off while you’re running. Find a pair that blocks 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays or offer UV absorption of up to 400nm.
Use Sun Index
Sun Index is a free smartphone app that’s awesome for taking out with you when you’re going for a run. Available for iOS or Android, it can tell you how long you can stay outside before getting a sunburn. It also includes lots of other neat sun safety features, like letting you know when the sun’s rays are strongest during the day, and sending you reminders when it’s time to reapply sunscreen.
Find the right time
If possible, you should run early in the morning or later in the evening, when the sun isn’t directly overhead. You’ll not only avoid the harsh UV rays, but also the heat. If you have to run during the day, try to find shady routes or trails. Remember, Sun Index can also tell you when the UV rays will be the most harsh during the day.