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Training in the great outdoors: Protecting yourself from the sun

Running and training for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run can lead to extended periods of time outdoors. Unfortunately, sun exposure can lead to progressive skin damage that leads to cancer.

The return of warm weather means the opportunity to run outdoors while training for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Unfortunately, sun exposure can lead to progressive skin damage that leads to cancer.

To help keep you protected during your running and training, Einstein Healthcare Network dermatologist Dr. Jonathon Wolfe at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery has provided the following tips and recommendations:

You need to wear sunscreen if you are going to spend a lot of time running outdoors. Sunscreen protects your skin by absorbing or reflecting the sun's rays.

Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside to run. And, apply it even on cloudy days. As much as 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet radiation can sneak through the clouds, even on the most overcast days.

What SPF should I use? As far as the protection offered, it would seem logical that an SPF 30 sunscreen would be twice as effective as an SPF 15 sunscreen, and an SPF 100 would be six times more effective, but that's not really how it works. Dermatologists believe you're fine using an SPF 30 or SPF 45, but just make sure to reapply the sunscreen every two hours.

Look for labels that indicate that the brand has broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) coverage when choosing a suncreen. The last thing you want in the middle of a run is to have your sunscreen drip into your eyes. Look for a sunscreen that's labeled "water-resistant" or "sweat-resistant."

Sport sunscreens that get the Skin Cancer Foundation's approval include:

  1. Banana Boat UltraMist Sport Performance Continuous Spray Sunblock SPF 30

  2. Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen Stick SPF 30

  3. Hawaiian Tropic Sport SPF 45

  4. NO-AD Sport SPF 50 Active Sunblock Lotion

  5. Ocean Potion Oil Free Sport Xtreme Sunblock SPF 30

  6. Rite Aid SPF 30 Sport Continuous Spray

Sunscreens come in different varieties: lotions, creams, sticks and sprays. Choose the one that's easiest for you to apply, especially one that's easy to reapply when you're running or training. Sometimes a spray may seem easiest, but much of it evaporates when it hits the air and is not optimal in some conditions.

Don't forget the accessories, like sunscreen lip balm to protect your sensitive lips. ChapStick Ultra SPF 30 and Hawaiian Tropic Aloe Vera Sunscreen Lip Balm 45+ are both options. Also consider using a sunscreen for your scalp or wearing a hat, especially if you're thinning a bit on top.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.