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Avoid Sunburn While Trail Running

What is a Sunburn?

Sunburn is the result of not using proper skin protection while sunbathing or even from routine sun exposure. The skin becomes red, tender and swollen. You may have a stinging sensation and blistering may occur. Some people with a sunburn will develop a low grade fever. The skin will eventually shed or peel, once the skin underneath has renewed itself.

If you avoid sunscreen because you don't like the sticky feel of it, try a sunscreen that is lightweight and sweat-proof.

Tips to Avoid Sunburns while Trail Running

  1. Run either early in the morning or late in the evening.
    • The sun causes the most damage to your skin between the hours of 10am and 4pm
  2. Wear sunblock under your T-shirt.
    • T-shirts offer an SPF of about 7. When the T-shirt is wet, it looses some of its SPF.
  3. Wear T-shirts that have built-in sun protection.
    • You can purchase T-shirts with built in sun protection from an athletic store or running specialty store.
    • Sun-protective fabrics typically have a tight weave or knit and are usually darker in color.
    • Sun-protective clothes have a label listing the garment's Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) value.
    • UPF is the level of protection the garment provides from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. The higher the UPF, the higher the protection from the sun's UV rays.
  4. Wash your clothes once a month in Sunguard.
    • Sunguard is a colorless dye that gives your clothes an SPF of greater than 30.
  5. Protect your face.
    • Wear sunscreen on your face. Hats help too.
  6. Protect your scalp.
    • Wear a hat to protect your scalp from the sun.
  7. Put sunblock on your legs.

Sunburn and Over-Counter Medications

If you become sunburn while running, the following medications will help you heal:

  • Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help combat pain.
  • Anesthetic creams or sprays containing benzocain and lidocain provide temporary relief.
  • Antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps and antiseptics help prevent infection.
  • Aloe-based products soothe and cool overheated skin.
  • Moisturizers can help keep your skin from drying out and tightening up.

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