4 Alternative Solutions For Run-Related Skin Issues

Molly Hurford
by Molly Hurford
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4 Alternative Solutions For Run-Related Skin Issues

As runners, we often deal with some kind of skin ‘issue’ throughout the course of the year, and while it’s tempting to slather on topical treatments from your local pharmacy, it can be nice to use more natural alternatives instead.

Here, we look at a few common runner issues and how to soothe, treat and prevent them without adding more chemicals to your daily routine:


First of all, avoid sunburn by wearing SPF sunscreen and even SPF-treated gear. Dr. Sandy Johnson, FAAD, a dermatologist and eight-time marathoner, recommends wearing breathable long-sleeve clothing like the UA Swyft top and UA Fly-By Cap while running to decrease your risk.

“Marathoners are at an increased risk for melanoma and every sunburn increases that risk,” she notes. If you get a bit too much sun, her recommendation is to increase your hydration, so drink more water (with electrolytes, as needed) and use a cool, blank moisturizer to soothe the skin. She suggests keeping your moisturizer in the refrigerator for maximum relief. Aloe vera is a natural alternative to a more standard moisturizer.


That’s right, acne on your butt. Unfortunately, it’s not so uncommon, especially in summer heat. “Athletes have an increased amount of yeast on their bodies which increases the risk of ‘butt acne,’” says Johnson. She adds that you can use something like Head and Shoulders shampoo to wash your body, but for a more natural solution, just getting out of your sweaty gear and into the shower immediately after a run can help avoid a lot of woes, from butt-ne to UTIs.


Sometimes natural deodorants aren’t strong enough to mask smelly sweat after a hard run. But rather than going back to a heavily perfumed option, consider a few adjustments to your diet. You may want to consider skipping obvious culprits like garlic the night before a hard workout, as it tends to be a smell that “sweats out,” but also look to your food log to decipher other foods in your diet and how they make your sweat smell. You may notice trends, like after indulging in more than two beers, you had smellier sweat at your track workout.


Chafing is a real problem, especially on long runs in hot, humid weather,” says Johnson. And when it’s hot out, even the skinniest legs can end up getting chafed. “You will know if you are chafed the moment you get in the shower,” she adds. To prevent it, opt for a longer, tighter pair of shorts versus the standard short-shorts popular with runners, like Under Armour’s HeatGear Middy with a 5-inch inseam. For soothing, natural solutions, air and time will be your best friends here. Wear loose clothing, like a maxi-dress or boxers and lightweight shorts, in order to give your skin some breathing room.

About the Author

Molly Hurford
Molly Hurford

Molly is an outdoor adventurer and professional nomad obsessed with all things running, nutrition, cycling and movement-related. When not outside, she’s writing and podcasting about being outside, training and health. You can follow along with her adventures on Instagram at @mollyjhurford.


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