By Jennifer Davies, Special to MSBL
(Editor’s note: Jennifer is a content writer and health nut, who left her corporate job to pursue her passions and spend more time with her wonderful family.)
Athletes playing team sports like baseball are prone to a plethora of skin conditions, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. Bacteria, fungi and viruses can proliferate when athletes are in close contact, and that is just one of many issues that can arise when getting hot and sweaty is the order of the day. If you are a baseball player who wishes to keep skin healthy and youthful, take note of what you’re up against and ensure you adopt the appropriate preventive measures so you can concentrate on giving your very best on the field.
Protecting Skin Against The Sun
Baseball players can be under a blazing sun for hours, which makes skin cancer one of the most pressing skin concerns they can face. If you train outdoors, don’t forget to slap on your 50+ sunscreen. While both chemical and physical sunscreens exist, if you have sensitive skin or you wish to avoid toxic build-up, a physical sunscreen (which tends to be thicker than chemical products) might be your best bet. Reapply sunscreen after every couple of hours, to ensure that UV rays don’t cause aging, loss of firmness or cancer. If you have sun-related pigmentation and spots, consider laser treatment, which is very efficient at targeting skin at a deeper level. If you opt for laser, it is best to do so during off-season months, since you will be required to stay out of the sun for a few days.
Bacterial And Viral Threats To Athletes
When you’re part of a baseball team, habits such as shared use of equipment and benches, and shared shower use can put you at risk for bacterial infections like impetigo, herpes simplex, and ringworm. Keeping clean and not sharing clothing are key, but even when doing so, you may not be able to avoid contact with other players or refrain from using common surfaces that contain these germs. Therefore, you should be on the lookout for rashes, sores or skin changes, seeing your doctor immediately for treatment if you spot any of these symptoms. To keep athlete’s foot at bay, always use footwear when showering in common showers. Bring an anti-bacterial spray bottle along, and clean common equipment like weights, benches and mats before use.
Keeping Skin Blemish-Free
Another skin problem many baseball players can have is oily skin, blocked pores, pigmentation (uneven skin) and spots – owing to sun exposure and the over-activation of oil and sweat glands. A daily skincare routine is key for all adults, but for baseball and other team players, it is crucial. There are many products on the market, but you should opt for gentle products targeting oily skin. These control oil and keep skin free of spots without over-drying it. In fact, oily skin results from dehydration; oil glands go into overdrive because skin is not receiving the moisture it needs.
Steps In Your Skincare Routine
To keep your body as smooth as a baby’s, in addition to showering, use a body exfoliant. This product will typically contain rougher ‘grains’ that slough off dead skin. While your skin is still a little moist, apply a quality moisturizer that will act as a barrier between your skin and the elements. A facial skincare routine is more complex, and should ideally be personalized to your skin type. Various acids (including ascorbic acid and retinoic acid) are ideal additions to almost every skincare routine, but the precise combination should be determined by your dermatologist. In general, you should aim to cleanse and hydrate skin daily. Use a mattifying moisturizer if you have oily skin, but if your skin feels too tight or dry, it is a sign that you need a richer products. For dry skin, try adding hyaluronic acid into your routine; it will help ‘trap’ moisture and ensure any additional hydrating products you apply work more efficiently. Sunscreen is the last product you should apply.
Baseball players may not be able to avoid contact with germs, but they should aim to avoid sharing personal items and clothing, keep their equipment clean, and be on the lookout for rashes and other signs of skin issues. A sound skincare routine that keeps skin well hydrated is also important if blemishes are to be avoided. Apply sunscreen daily, and remember to reapply; the more you sweat, the more applications will be necessary.