A blog by runners. For runners.

Common skin problems in runners

Common skin ailments runners faceFor all the good running can do for your body, it can wreck havoc on your skin. From dryness to chafing, blisters to acne, a good workout can mean bad news for your skin. Today we’ve rounded up some of the most common skin ailments for runners and how to avoid them.


  • The cause: Excess sweat can block and clog pores, causing breakouts in problem areas like the hairline and back.
  • To avoid: Try to shower as soon as you can after a workout, if showering isn’t an immediate option, at the very least, switch out of your sweaty running clothes as soon as possible. The best thing you can do is keep your skin as dry as possible, so choose moisture wicking fabrics to run in. In addition, remember to exfoliate your skin at least once a week to avoid the build up of excess skin cells.


  • The cause: Extended time spent out in the cool winter air, especially if it’s windy, can suck moisture from your skin.
  • To avoid: Keep your skin well hydrated starting from the inside out. Drink at least 8 cups of water a day and eat hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables. Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol. In addition, apply ultra-hydrating lotions and balms to your skin. I have personally been enjoying natural moisturizers like coconut oil, apricot oil and argan oil. You can find all these oils in your local health food stores and don’t forget those extra dry spots like elbows, knees, and heels.


  • The cause: Continuous rubbing of the skin against fabric or skin against skin can cause irritation and redness
  • To avoid: Chafing can be a very personal experience. Some runner find looser clothing helps them avoid chafing while others have found that tighter clothes that don’t bunch, like yoga pants, are best for avoiding irritation. Experiment on shorter runs and don’t try new clothing on race day or longer training runs –stick with what works. In addition, plan ahead by applying Vaseline, BodyGlide, or Aquaphor to areas prone to chaffing like the inner thighs, upper inner arms, and the nipples.


  • The cause: Excess rubbing of the skin, especially on the feet, for extended periods of time.
  • To avoid: Make sure your shoes fit properly. Consider a proper shoe fitting. The right shoe should not need to be “broken in”. Also invest in good running socks that are moisture wicking and will keep the feet dry. If you do get a blister there are a few ways to treat it. Experts are split on whether you should pop a blister or let it be. If you can’t resist popping, sterilize a needle or safety pin, puncture the blister, let it drain, then dab on Neosporin and cover with a band aid. Don’t pick at the skin or open up the blister if at all possible.

Written by Lisa Chase.

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