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Aug 23, 2023

A Runner’s Guide to Loving on the Skin We’re In – Part II

There’s seemingly a fine line between the benefits and the perils of the sun’s rays. Sun exposure allows us to produce vitamin D, which aids in shielding us against osteoporosis, heart disease, and many types of cancer. It also elevates our mood. On the other hand, the sun can burn our skin, age us prematurely, and increase our risk for skin cancer. The caveat is enjoying the sun and all its glory while doing it safely and in moderation.

In Part I of A Runner’s Guide to Loving on the Skin We’re In, we talked about how vital it is to protect our persistent protector—our skin—from the inside, and out, focusing on nutrition and hydration. Here, we focus on taking care of and preserving our skin from the outside.

In her book, Skin Care for Runners: Tips and Tricks for the Everyday Athlete, dermatologist, and marathoner Dr. Brooke A. Jackson’s longest chapter is devoted to sun protection. There is no surprise that our first line of defense for defending our skin against the sun’s UV radiation is sunscreen.

Using sunscreen is a critical component of any routine. Regular and proper sunscreen use can decrease our overall risk of skin cancer and early aging, wrinkle formation, and discoloration. According to Dr. Brooke, sun damage accumulates over our lifetimes, so everyone and anyone over the age of six months, regardless of skin color, should incorporate the use of this daily sun guard.

But, all sunscreens are not created equal. When choosing a sunscreen, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends choosing one that says:

  • Broad spectrum. This means a sunscreen screens the skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, both of which can cause cancer.
  • SPF 30 or higher. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is how well a sunscreen shields us from UVB rays.
  • Water resistant or very water resistant. Coverage for up to 40 or 80 minutes. No sunscreen is completely waterproof or sweatproof (despite advertising) and must be reapplied after prolonged exposure, swimming or sweating.

One ounce of sunscreen, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the uncovered areas of the body (face, neck, arms, check, legs)—that’s one ounce every day/every time we need to apply/reapply sunscreen. So, an 8-ounce bottle of sunscreen will only last about a week if used every day on areas other than your face.

 Remember, sunscreen alone cannot fully avert the effects of the sun. Wearing a hat safeguards our scalp, hair, and forehead; wearing sunglasses provides a buffer for our eyes and eyelids; and wearing protective clothing further creates a barrier between us and harmful UV rays.

Skin Cancer and Black Women
Skin color depends on the amount of melanin in the skin, but melanin can only provide a natural SPF of up to 13. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate and can and does affect all races. However, it is a type of cancer that we can see, and while we cannot control all risk factors, most skin cancers are preventable, and most, including melanoma, if found early, can be cured. According to the Skin Care Foundation, the most important thing to do to be vigilant and proactive is to get to know your skin type and continually protect it from the sun. Also, check yourself MONTHLY, and see a dermatologist once a year for a full body exam. No matter what, if you notice anything NEW, CHANGING or UNUSUAL on your skin, contact a dermatologist.

Our skin is our biggest organ and one of our greatest protectors. We should take care to take care of it. Forever love on and love the skin you’re in!

Dr. Brooke A. Jackson, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon and healthy skin advocate. Her practice philosophy focuses on patient education with a holistic approach to overall skin wellness. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Georgetown University medical school. She held faculty teaching positions at Harvard, Northwestern, MD Anderson Cancer Center and UNC prior to opening her private practice, Skin Wellness Dermatology Associates (SWDA) in Durham, NC in 2016. An avid runner and budding triathlete, Dr. Brooke has completed 10 marathons and 8 triathlons. She’s penned countless articles, made recurring appearances on ABC, NBC, FOX and WGN and is a frequent speaker for running groups on sun safety and skin cancer awareness. In 2022, she developed a skincare line to support the everyday athlete. Married with three children, Dr. Brooke enjoys cooking plant-based meals and spending time outdoors with sunscreen on! Connect with her on IG at @drbrookederm or on Facebook at DrBrookederm.

By: Joy Harrell @joyrunsrealestate

Joy Harrell is a licensed real estate agent and co-owner of The Sift Sisters bakery based in Houston, Texas. She is a native Houstonian and graduate of the University of Houston—go Coogs! When she is not helping people buy, sell or invest in real estate, she can be found hanging or traveling with her hubby, running or biking the streets and trails in and around Houston, mentoring girls, or testing new food and cocktail recipes.