Touch-down! Home-run! Slam-dunk! You athletes sure know how to win! You train hard and you play harder. With all the rigorous work you put your bodies through, it’s important to protect your natural armor, your skin. Learning how to protect this vital outer shell will enhance your performance, both on and off the field.
Helmets and gear are necessary, but your first line of defense from injury is really your skin. The skin’s most amazing feature is its ability to heal itself. Skin can repair itself when injured, thus protecting the body from infection and damage from injuries.
Another form of protection is melanin, the pigment that protects from the sun. Oils produced in the sebaceous glands protect from outside elements and keep the skin moisturized.
Under the extreme temperatures that you play, the skin works over time to regulate the body’s temperature. Millions of hair follicles and sweat glands on the skin dissipate heat to keep from over heating. Cooling down occurs by evaporation through the sweat glands.
The sweat glands on the skin also detoxifies the body by excreting excess salt and unwanted chemicals through the pores. Detoxifying the body is especially important for athletes who desire an increase in reaction time, increase in endurance level, quicker recovery time, and less fatigue.
Although training drills teach how to react automatically to counteract your opponent’s manuveurs, it’s the skin working behind the scene to make this happen. Sensory nerve endings in the dermis of the skin respond to touch, pain, cold, heat, and pressure. When the body senses touch, it is a stimulus that affects the body’s functions.
Even when you’re running up and down the field/court gasping for air, it’s actually your skin that’s absorbing oxygen and discharging carbon dioxide. Absorption occurs through the cells, follicles, and pores of the skin.
Understanding how the skin supports your every move should encourage you athletes to include skin care in your daily grooming routine. It’s simple, just cleanse and moisturize at least twice a day. For maximum results, get a facial once a month. If you have skin conditions that require treatment, find a good esthetician or dermatologist.
Even when you’re off the field, you’re still in the spotlight doing sponsorships, endorsements, and public appearances. Having clear, blemish free skin will keep you camera ready, and when winning matters the most, your healthy skin will give you a competitive edge and keep your game face strong.