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Sports and your skin

Prolonged sun exposure can cause premature aging and increase your risk of skin cancer. To reduce potential damage, avoid going out during the peak radiation hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., wear protective clothing and sunglasses, and apply sunscreen daily. Choose a waterproof sunblock with a sun protection factor, or SPF (S-P-F), of 15 or greater.

Look for a product that contains titanium dioxide (dye-AWK-side), zinc oxide, or Parsol 1789 (PAR-sawl seventeen eighty-nine); these ingredients block out more ultraviolet rays. Re-apply the product every two hours to compensate for sweating. Don't forget to put sunblock on your lips and ears as well.

Other challenges to an athlete's skin include chapping and dryness from winter winds and fungal infections like athlete's foot. You can guard skin during the winter by using a stronger moisturizer and continuing the use of sunblock.

Athlete's foot and similar infections thrive in hot, moist environments, so you can discourage them by wearing sandals in public showers and keeping skin clean and dry. After your workout, bathe and dry off well, then put on clean cotton socks and dry shoes.