Kevin Perez/The Skyline View
Skin is one of the most important organs a human can have. Yes, skin is considered an organ even though it is not located within the body. It is there to protect the other organs, bones, and give us the ability to be active without the fear of hurting ourselves.
Athletes or anyone active can relate that skin is often unappreciated until it gets scraped up or wounded while having fun. For runners, hikers and swimmers alike, taking care of skin can be essential to living a longer life. Of course this can be applied to everyone. There are many forms of skin protection that will be discussed here, and simple suggestions of products will be put out there based on my experiences for before, during and after care of skin.
To use sun screen or to not use sun screen? Over years of research, sunscreen is significant to have if a person wants to lower the chances of getting Melanoma, also known as skin cancer. There are out door athletes, though, that do not think about putting on sun screen, or just plain do not like it. The reasoning, “I don’t like it,” or “It smells funny,” and “It doesn’t stay anyway, why should I?” come up often. Not having cancer is worth it though.
At other times, it can irritate the skin if the person is sensitive or has eczema. Eczema is simply an inflammation of the skin, and there are at least six common types people may have. So, it can be tricky to be active and have this type of inflammation to the skin.
Swimmers not only have to use sun screen but sometimes a skin protectant, due to the harsh chemicals in pools. Chlorine can make eczema worse and even dry out the skin until it cracks. One of the most commonly used products for it, that I know of, is Cetaphil moisturizing cream. Remember though, if there is some kind of rash developing please contact your doctor for the professional advice.
Personally, the use of Vaseline (also known as petroleum jelly) takes the pressure of chemicals off the skin as well. Just add a good amount and rub it into the skin before going on a swim. The coating of the product creates a barrier between the skin and water, and soothes the skin from potential problems. Another plus is that it helps with the water temperature. Vaseline can be used for swimmers who swim in the ocean and other cold bodies of water.
As for after treatment, if anyone wants a more holistic route, coconut oil does wonders. Use this if you are not allergic. I use this product and it aids my skin, since it does crack if I am not careful. It usually can be applied everywhere before and after exercise. It is popular with swimmers when it comes to prep. The effects of it is similar to Vaseline but usually a lot lighter.