By Karen Asp, Experience Life
I was skiing in Colorado a few years ago when a crusty scab appeared along my nose. I thought it was a weird case of acne. But the eruptions became more severe when the temperature dropped, so I sought help. The diagnosis? A skin disorder called rosacea.
Fitness enthusiasts are especially prone to such skin conditions. Not only do we spend time braving skin-aggravating elements, but our activities cause heat and friction. Plus, close contact with other individuals increases our likelihood of picking up infections, says Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.
When skin conditions strike, they often have a significant impact on fitness programs. “They can cause enough embarrassment that people refuse to go to the gym,” Crutchfield says, adding that the stress related to visible skin conditions can also trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating. In other cases, fitness enthusiasts persist in their health routines but endure significant discomfort as a result.
Still, it’s crucial to seek help if a skin condition is causing itching, pain, discomfort or emotional stress, or if you suspect it might be infectious. Here’s some advice from Crutchfield and Christina G. Steil, MD, a dermatologist in Hinsdale, Ill. on how to battle eight common skin conditions. (For additional tips, see “An Integrated Approach,” page 3.)
Next: How to Identify and Treat these 8 Skin Problems: Rosacea, Acne Mechanica, Hidradenitis Suppurativa, Athlete’s Foot, Plantar Warts, Eczema, Bacterial Folliculitis, and Impetigo