Tips for Treating Chafing & Other Skin Irritations in Runners
We hope you enjoy this post today from our guest blogger, Boiron pharmacist Raphaele Cohen-Bacry.
A few months ago, I was surprised to wake up to a very quiet morning, and I was comforted by the sounds of chirping birds and the breeze whistling through the trees. I soon found out the tranquility was only temporary. The normally busy street outside my bedroom window was closed for a race later that day, and 3,000 runners would soon be pounding the pavement. As it turns out, running is attracting more and more interest here in the United States. There are approximately 36 million runners and more than 160 annual marathons in the U.S., according to Running USA. This number is continuing to grow.
Running doesn’t require a lot of equipment, and most of us could go for an easy jog without too much effort. However, as most competitive runners, and those who hit the streets more than a couple times each week, will tell you, running can also be very physically demanding. Muscle fatigue, cramps and stiffness are a constant struggle for runners, and homeopathic medicines such as Arnicare Gel and Sportenine tablets can help relieve these symptoms. There’s also the possibility of skin irritations, which is something both new and veteran runners, no matter the distance they run, may experience. Blisters and chafing are two common issues. Chafing, a stinging or burning sensation caused by skin rubbing against loose fabric or other skin, occurs mainly around the bra line, nipples (mostly in men), inner thighs and underarms. It’s also worsened by moisture (i.e., rain or sweat). The area becomes red and raw, and it can get infected if not treated properly, which makes it more difficult to continue running. So to keep you on course, here are some simple ways to prevent chafing:
- Stay dry (talcum powder helps), stay hydrated, and use a lubricant (such as Calendula Ointment) to minimize the friction.
- Wear proper running clothes. Loose clothing is more likely to rub against your skin, so choose a fabric that is sweat-wicking, like certain synthetic materials (head to your nearest sporting goods stores for a wide selection). Stay away from cotton—once it’s wet, it stays wet, and it can rub your skin raw.
- Men who are prone to nipple chafing may want to put plasters on for the duration of their run.
- Vitamins A, C and B can be helpful, because they improve the condition of your skin.
In case blisters or chafing do occur, treat the condition like an open wound. Wash and disinfect the area as soon as possible, apply a thin layer of Calendula Ointment, and cover it with a sterile gauze pad to allow the skin to breathe. You can repeat this process as needed, generally two to three times a day. Due to its healing, antifungal and antiseptic properties, Calendula Ointment is a great treatment for chafing. You can also use the ointment as a lubricant. Prior to running, apply it to the areas that are more susceptible to chafing. Applying it to your toes and feet will also minimize the risk of blisters. However, please be aware that if pus appears or pain increases, or if you are diabetic, consult with your health care professional. For more information on the complete line of Calendula products, click here. And have a good run!
About Our Guest Blogger: As a West Coast pharmacist and a professional educational specialist at Boiron, Raphaele Cohen-Bacry enlightens medical doctors and other health care professionals about homeopathic medicines. Before her nine-year career with Boiron, Raphaele was a pharmacist in France where she obtained 15 years of clinical experience. She is a sought-after expert on homeopathic medicines and a regular monthly guest on the Los Angeles radio talk show “Here’s to Your Health.” To read more articles by Raphaele, check out her blog, http://foryourowngood.org.