save your skin

Summer sunshine can boost your wellbeing and motivation – but running in the warmer months can bring added challenges for your skin. Increased sweating, blocked pores, dryness, UV rays and dehydration can all play havoc with your complexion.

‘When the sun comes out and the temperature rises it’s time to rethink your skincare,’ says Abi Weeds, founder of an organic skincare website (www. and an elite runner herself.

‘The heat increases the rate of cell turnover so you’ll need to cleanse and exfoliate more. You’ll also sweat more in the heat – which is great for your skin because it gets rid of toxins but it can increase the chance of irritation and blocked pores,’ she adds.

Take extra care to cleanse properly to avoid leaving salt, sweat and bacteria on your skin. Sweating more will also mean you dehydrate faster which leaves your skin parched and at increased risk of breakouts.

Summer skincare also needs to be gentle. ‘If you’ve sweated out dirt and toxins, you don’t want to put
a heavy moisturiser back in. Instead, opt for light formulations and misting tonics that won’t overload your skin,’ says Abi Weeds.

Lisa Burton, manager at Ark Skincare, in Putney,

recommends cleansing well before you head out for a summer run, removing all make-up and running bare-faced apart SPF protection. Add a dash of mascara and under-eye concealer if you really hate the idea of running in no make-up at all.

‘This might be tough if you feel uncomfortable bare, but I promise you will notice a difference in how your skin looks and feels after a week or so of doing this. You sweat more in the summer and if you’re wearing make-up while you exercise it clogs the pores. You’ll have clearer, brighter skin if you run barefaced and you’ll soon get used to it,’ says Burton.

Exposure to UVA and UVB radiation can irritate and burn your skin so apply an SPF moisturiser or serum before heading out for a summer run.

She advises cleansing again post-run. ‘Double cleanse again to remove all the sweat and toxins that have come out of your pores. This avoids the build- up of bacteria that can trigger skin breakouts.’

When the skin heats up, extra blood is pumped to the surface to cool it off – turning your face red and making your skin swell, retain water and produce more oil. After cleansing, apply a hydrating, misting toner to soothe the skin before you moisturise. A calming serum can also help reduce any redness and calm your skin.

‘Wait an hour or so, if possible, before you apply make-up. This will allow any redness to fade and give your skin a chance to normalise and calm,’ says Lisa.

Nadia Mitchell, ESPA beauty training manager, says exfoliation is essential in summer. ‘The skin can become thicker as it works to protect itself and this, combined with the sweat produced during exercise, could lead to blocked pores and a dull appearance. She recommends using a gentle exfoliator once or twice per week, depending on your skin type, to help buff the skin and refine pores for an even, smooth texture.’

Protect the skin on your body as you run with an organic skin block rather than a chemical SPF product. Mitchell suggests using a soap- free body wash after your run to help prevent dehydration. Exfoliate your body gently twice a week to keep skin clear and glowing. Apply a light, soothing body cream to combat any summer dryness or irritation.


  1.  Run bare-faced.
  2. Run in the early morning or late evening when humidity is lowest and the sun’s intensity is lower. Or plan a shady route.
  3. Wear a hat or visor to protect your face and UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your sight.
  4. Shield skin and lips with a moisturiser or protective serum containing at least an SPF15.
  5. Cleanse before and after running. Use a light moisturiser. Avoid overloading skin with heavy products.
  6. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate as you’ll sweat more.
  7. Wait an hour for skin to normalise before reapplying make-up if possible.
  8. Spritz with a calming tonic or apply a de-stress serum post-run. Use moisturiser if needed.
  9. Chill a flannel in ice-water. Wring out and hold against your neck post run to reduce redness.
  10. A ten to 15 minute burst of sunshine will top up your vitamin D. However, as most runs will give you more exposure than this make sure your mind is on both your run, and your sun protection.

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