Keep clean to keep yourself happy
Interview with Diane Berson, MD and Kavita Mariwalla, MD.
The top three issues that threaten all athletes are fungus, acne, and rashes. Fungus can be found in many places in the gym—including benches, lockers, and even on towels.
What can you do to prevent fungus?
- Bring your own white towel to the gym (and bleach it when you get home)
- Use anti-dandruff shampoo, such as Selsun Blue as a body wash after your workout, as selenium sulfide found in Selsun Blue has anti-fungal properties
- Use an antibacterial wipe to wipe down all handles, mats, and bars before using them at the gym
- Wear flip flops in all public shower facilities—athlete’s foot is easily transmitted in public shower areas
- Pay special attention to keeping your groin and toe areas dry post-workout. You can use medicated powders such as Gold Bond or Zeasorb
What are some ways to prevent acne breakouts due to increased physical activity?
- Shower immediately after your workout. You can also use a benzoyl peroxide body wash to sterilize acne-causing bacteria. Try CLn Sportwash, which is sold in many drug stores. For hard-to reach areas, use benzoyl peroxide sprays.
- If you cant get to a shower right away, use face wipes, such as Neutrogena or Pond’s.
When being active outside, remember to play it safe in the sun!
- Re-apply sunscreen every 3 hours
- SPF 30 is minimum (click here to consider if you sunscreen is right for you)
- If you plan on being in the water, look ofr products that are water-resistant for 80 minutes (new FDA guidelines no longer allow the labels ‘waterproof’ or ‘sweat-proof’)
- Consider products such as RIT Sunguard (for wash-in protection), Ocean Potion Face Off or Anthelios by La Roche Posay
Sunburns can be painful and put you at risk for developing skin cancer later in life. If you do get burned here’s what you can do:
- For acute sunburns, take an oatmeal bath and take an aspirin or motrin to reduce swelling.
- For severe burns, see a dermatologist immediately as your skin is truly “burned” and needs care like topical corticosteroids.