With the increasing popularity of outdoor running, do we need to compromise beauty to be active outdoor runners?Many of us have pondered the dilemna of whether we should actively train outdoors in order to be competitive with the standard Chartered Marathon, or the all  women’s Sha’e Run and Great Eastern Race; or whether we should train in the gym because of the fear of sun damage and developing sunspots. Do we really need to compromise on beauty and our skin in order to be active in the outdoors?


With increasing options for skin care treatments and products, we have a better chance of staying healthy and active outdoors, while maintaining great skin. A recent, widely publicized study found that only 56 percent of the runners said they put on sunscreen regularly. A decent skincare regimen is important to keep your skin healthy, while allowing you to be physically fit and engaged in outdoor activities.

Outdoor sports, particular in a hot and humid climate such as what we have in Singapore, involoves a lot of sweat, oils, dirt and environmental pollutants that can affect our skin. With the time you spend on the health of your body, it’s easy to overlook spending some time on your skin.

Here are a few easy ways to ensure that your skin stays as healthy and youthful as your body.

1. Any outdoor sport requires the use of sunblock. Use a sunscreen that’s waterproof, has an SPF of 30 or more, and offers “broad spectrum” coverage, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Many suncreens only protect against UVB or short-wavelength UVA rays, but its the longer wavelength UVA ray that penetrates the skin deeper and results in sun damage. Apply sunblock at least 20 minutes before your run.

2. Run early in the morning before the sun’s intensity is at its greatest. Its important to wear protective clothing and a cap that extends over your face.

3. Cleansing your face and body immediately after playing a sport is important. This step will keep away dirt, oil, bacteria and other surface debris from collecting in your pores and causing breakouts. Use a body wash or gentle body scrub and facial cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type.

4. Have a good facial skin care regimen. This includes a cleanser, a toner and a moisturizer. The regimen should fit your particular skin type. For example, if you tend to have acne, you need a drying cleanser which may contain alpha-hydroxy acids. On the other hand, if your skin is already dry, you will need a gentle moisturizing cleanser.

5. What about make-up? The idea of wearing make-up while running has always been controversial. Women of the pro-makeup camp claim that since they look better while wearing makeup, they feel better, and therefore perform better. Anti-makeup proponents argue that wearing makeup can clog the pores and cause breakouts.

  • Modern technology has also created makeup products that will not clog your pores. In fact, some of these products contain ingredients that are actually good for your skin. For example, many waterproof foundations contain sunscreen, which is an indisputable requirement for any woman who enjoys exercising in the outdoor. Try mineral make-up such as glominerals, a brand that doesn’t contain talc, and has contents that soothe the skin, and have natural sunblocking properties.
  • Although there are many waterproof lipsticks on the market, take note that many lipsticks may contain lead. A recent study in the United States by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics showed that over 60% of department store brand lipsticks that they tested contained lead, even though these were not marked in the ingredient list. Choose mineral make-up such as glominerals where the manufacturer can demonstrate lead-free lipsticks.

6. After the race, consider visiting a skin care clinic. Ask for a skin analysis where a camera looks uses a special light to look for UV damage in your skin. These can present as sun spots over time. Take advantage of laser and skin care treatments that can remove these sun spots even before they appear.