How to take care of surfers’ skin (part 1)
Surfing is amazing for the body and the mind, but not so much for the skin.
Several variables contribute to damage the skin’s surface and leave it more vulnerable. Fragile or broken skin is also more prone to infections and other opportunistic aches.
As a surfer, there are a few essential aspects to consider.
Steps as simple as cleaning, moisturizing, and protecting are very basic, but different people have different needs that need to be met.
Scalp, hands, feet, and face are naturally more exposed to the burning sun rays, the dehydrating salted water, and the friction caused by sand, wax, or wetsuit seams.
Windsurfers, for example, can develop painful blisters in their hands.
The body, on the other hand, is often confined in wet, non-breathable fabrics for considerable amounts of time. All these factors demand specific measures to keep the skin in perfect condition.
Here are a few steps to replenish and care for your skin, leaving it ready for the next session:
1. Know Your Skin
First and foremost, you need to know your skin type, as it allows you to choose the right products.
A dermatologist will help you identify your skin fragilities, and prescribe the best routine for your body, scalp, and face, according to your specific needs.
It’s also important to adapt your skincare routine to the intensity of your surfing practice.
When you surf more often or depending on the season, you may need a more or less nourishing moisturizer, a deeper or lighter cleaning product, and a higher or lower protection sunscreen, etc.
2. Clean It Up
Once you know your skin, it’s time to clean and do it right.
Depending on your skin type – oily, dry, combination – the right cleaning product will wash away impurities (salt, sunscreen, etc.) without stripping the skin from its natural protections.
Avoid harsh detergents and irritant formulations. It’s smart to invest in good shower creams or gels formulated for sensitive skin.
If you’re wearing a sponge, make sure it is cleaned right. Otherwise, you will expose your skin to unwanted bacteria.
Again, don’t forget the scalp: invest in a gentle shampoo that cleans, but doesn’t build up or dehydrates. It may take a while to find the right one, but it’s worth the search.
It’s also crucial to wear a specific cleaning product for the face, whether it is a gel, an oil, or micellar water. Use it every morning and evening, and in the shower after surfing.
Every once in a while, you can also exfoliate for a deeper cleanse and to promote skin renewal. Be careful, however, as to not damage the skin.
Opt for gentle exfoliants with rich oils for the body. There are some interesting DIY recipes out there that are worth a try. For the face, choose one that adjusts to your skin type.