Days are getting longer and the sun – warmer. Running is great fun in this comfortable weather, but ultraviolet rays are already getting stronger. Especially those who are training for a full marathon and spend long hours outdoors are at a higher risk of UV damage. Carelessness with sun care is unacceptable, so we asked Ms. Senko Negishi, researcher at Shiseido Cosmetics Value Development Center, to remind us of UV protection techniques to prevent skin damage while running.
Senko Negishi: researcher, Shiseido Cosmetics Value Development Center. Works on developing beauty software and body care products, as well as massage theory. Certified beauty therapist of the Association of Japanese Estheticians and Beauty Therapists (AJESTHE).
Risk of UV radiation damage increasing! Sunscreen: a year-round must for skin-conscious runners
Quite a few runners ignore sun care at this time of the year, saying: “It’s not even hot yet, so I’ll be ok!” However, starting from January the amount of UV radiation is increasing rapidly. What risks does UV exposure hold?
“UV exposure causes damage to the stratum corneum and epidermis and may disrupt their normal functioning. Also, there’s a risk of skin turnover speeding up, which suppresses the skin’s barrier function and moisturizing function. Skin color is also affected. The skin gets “sunburnt” and turns red, or else turns brown due to melanin oxidation. Another potential risk is overproduction of melanin leading to dark spots in the future,” explains Ms. Negishi.
“But I did put the sunscreen on!” Application techniques for 100% protection
Here Ms. Negishi gives a review of basic sunscreen application techniques and points out areas often missed when applying sunscreen.
- Take about a nickel-sized dollop of sunscreen in your palm and dot it onto five areas of the face: both cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin.
- Starting with large areas like cheeks or forehead, spread thoroughly all over the face in slow outward motions, following the curves of the face.
At this point, make sure not to miss any parts: “We tend to forget about the areas between the eyebrows, under the eyes, wings of the nose, hairline, and behind the ears. Take another nickel-sized amount of sunscreen, spread it on your palms, and cover the above-mentioned spots. The neck is another part susceptible to ultraviolet rays, so I recommend shielding it as well,” says Ms. Negishi.
- Apply the sunscreen directly from the bottle to the skin in thin lines, one line per area and the same length as the area you are covering.
- Rub it in with your palms and fingers in large circular motions, one area at a time.
Here, areas like nape, back of the hands and top of the feet, sides of the body, knees, and back of the knees are often neglected. “To cover these spots, take an appropriate amount of sunscreen into your palm, spread it between your palms first, then rub into the skin,” recommends Ms. Negishi.
Model Yuxiao Li comments, “I usually apply SPF50 sunscreen on all occasions, even if I’m just popping out to the gym. But I never quite paid attention to such minor parts! I’ll take more care with sunscreen application from now on.”
When to apply? When to re-apply? Sunscreen rules for runs longer than two hours
So, what kind of sun care is required during a half marathon or a full marathon, or on days when you spend long hours training for them? Ms. Negishi sums up: “Ideally, re-apply your sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours.” That being said, if you’re running in your top shape or with a group, it’s not an easy thing to do. Any advice for such occasions?
“Powdery foundation applied on top of sunscreen increases UV protection, so try at least to apply that. Also, even if you sweat, try not to rub your face; use a towel to blot the sweat instead,” advises Ms. Negishi. As for sun care on the day of a race, it is recommended to apply sunscreen a little beforehand rather than right before the start as it takes about 15 minutes to penetrate into the skin.
Ms. Li reflects: “I’ve always put on sunscreen right before going out and never re-applied it during a race or long runs…”
Try out these techniques for your next race or training to keep your skin healthy and beautiful! And if you’ve got sunburnt nonetheless, check the tips in the article below:
UV shield enhanced in contact with water and sweat! Recommended sunscreen items for runners, effective both for the face and the body:
(From the left)
SHISEIDO PERFECT UV PROTECTOR HydroFresh
・A water-based sunscreen with a lightweight, comfortable feel (SPF50＋/PA＋＋＋＋)
SHISEIDO BB FOR SPORTS
・A BB-type sunscreen that delivers a beautiful fit look of healthy skin (SPF50＋/PA＋＋＋)
ANESSA Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster
・A light milk-type sunscreen giving extra high protection from the harsh UV rays (SPF50＋/PA＋＋＋＋)
ANESSA Essence UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster
・A moisturizing lotion-type sunscreen with skincare effect (SPF50＋/PA＋＋＋＋)
Fashion model. Born in China in 1987 and grew up in Japan. With three years of running experience, currently enjoys competing with friends through a running app and runs about 100 km a month. Participated in Hawaii Honolulu Marathon in 2015. Sets a future target of taking part in a triathlon race. Also works as an interpreter and in the PR field.