Healthy skin important for athletes

February 20, 2005

Healthy skin is important for athletes, as even common problems such as blisters can be painful and can adversely affect athletic participation and performance, says dermatologist Scott B. Phillips, M.D., of Chicago.

Healthy skin is important for athletes, as even common problems such as blisters can be painful and can adversely affect athletic participation and performance, says dermatologist Scott B. Phillips, M.D., of Chicago.

Many conditions are avoidable and treatable, he said, speaking here Sunday. Athletes can prevent painful blisters - the most common complaint of marathon runners - by wearing moisture-wicking socks and well-fitting shoes, and by using drying powders or antiperspirants, petroleum jelly or adhesive pads, Dr. Phillips says. The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends that athletes wear sunscreen and sun-protective clothing and avoid the midday sun whenever possible.

Dr. Phillips notes that athletes are prone to different skin problems - such as corns, calluses and chafing - depending on their sport, and he cautions that some problems may be symptoms of a more serious health condition. While the benefits of exercise far outweigh any temporary dermatologic conditions, he says, it's important for doctors and athletes to take steps to prevent the problems in the first place.