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The Skin You're In

Sun Damage

Competing in the sun for extend periods of time puts tennis players at risk for sun damage.  Sun damage is caused by prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun.  The most effective strategies to prevent sun damage are: 1. Apply sunscreen (SPF 30, sweatproof, waterproof that blocks UVA & UVB rays) look for sunblock that contains hlioplex, zinc oxide, or titanium oxide 2. Limit sun exposure.

 

 

These areas are the most often missed when professional tennis players apply sunscreen:

1)       Hair part

2)       Tops of ears

3)       Back of the neck

4)       Lips

5)       Reapplication to  arms and face after 45-60 minutes of practice

 

Skin Cancer The Facts for WTA players:

 ·         There are three main skin cancers: Basal, Squamous cell, & Melanoma  All are caused by too much sun.

·         Skin cancer is the most common cancer of all types of cancer

·         Melanoma is the most common cause of death from cancer in women ages 25 to 30.

·         Melanoma has a 95% cure rate, when detected early

 

Early detection by self-examinations or by regular dermatologist visits is key.  For more information read Physically Speaking topic “Play it Safe in the Sun”

 

Common misconceptions about sun exposure:

Myth

Fact

Darker skin doesn’t need sunscreen or shade

Dark skin also burns and long term sun exposure can cause wrinkles and sagging skin

Sweat proof or waterproof sunscreen doesn’t need to be replaced

The intense environment in which you practice and play can make your sunscreen ineffective in about an hour

I tan so I don’t need sunscreen

A tan is your body’s response to protect itself from too much sun. 

Tanned skin only gives you about a SPF 5 which is minimal protection

White colored clothes block more sun than other colors

Dark colored clothing is better at protecting you from the sun. Light colored clothes block infrared (the heat producing) rays from the sun so you will be cooler; but harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays will penetrate your clothes and reach your skin.

It is cloudy and cold so I don’t need to apply sunscreen or wear a hat.

While the intensity of sun exposure is less when it is cloudy, a significant amount of ultraviolet radiation will  pass through the clouds so you can still burn

Tinea pedis (athlete’s fOOt)

Tinea Pedis (athlete’s foot) is caused by a fungus which loves to grow in warm, dark, moist areas, such as inside your sweaty tennis socks; with the sole of the foot being the most common site.

Tinea Pedis can appear in 3 different ways:

1.       Flaky skin on the insole and edges of the sole

2.       Itchy red bumps on insole

3.       Flaky skin in between toes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treatment

Prevention

·   Treatment of the nail fungus that can develop in an athlete’s nail is very difficult

·   Topical prescription treatments are every day for up to a year and have less than 10% cure rates

·   Oral prescription treatments can cure 50% of infections but after 1 year 50% will recur. 

·   The medicine is a tablet every day for 3 months.

·   Side effects include liver damage and reduced immune system function

·   Avoid going barefoot in the shower, locker room, and on hotel or other public area floors –always wear sandals or flip flops (best if anti-microbial)

·   Apply anti-fungal spray to clean, dry feet

·   Wear synthetic moisture wicking socks

·   As soon as practical after practice and competition, shower and get out of sweaty socks and shoes

·   DRY your feet thoroughly, including between the toes, before putting on clean socks and dry shoes!

·   Wear properly fitting shoes and orthotics

·   Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure!!

 

 

If left untreated athlete’s foot increases your chance of getting fungus infection in your nail which is very difficult to treat

Athlete’s toenail

Athlete’s toenail is caused by constant slamming of the toe into the toe box (inside front part of your tennis shoe) due to the quick stops and starts of tennis.  Over time, the repeated slamming creates thick, discolored, ridged and cracked nails with calluses around the nail.  This abnormal nail allows fungus to enter and grow.

Treatment

Prevention

·   Treatment of the nail fungus that can develop in an athlete’s nail is very difficult

·   Topical prescription treatments are every day for up to a year and have less than 10% cure rates

·   Oral prescription treatments can cure 50% of infections but after 1 year 50% will recur. 

·   The medicine is a tablet every day for 3 months.

·   Side effects include liver damage and reduced immune system function

·   Avoid going barefoot in the shower, locker room, and on hotel or other public area floors –always wear sandals or flip flops (best if anti-microbial)

·   Apply anti-fungal spray to clean, dry feet

·   Wear synthetic moisture wicking socks

·   As soon as practical after practice and competition, shower and get out of sweaty socks and shoes

·   DRY your feet thoroughly, including between the toes, before putting on clean socks and dry shoes!

·   Wear properly fitting shoes and orthotics

·   Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure!!

Verruca (PLANTAR warts)

Verruca (plantar warts) are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV).  This virus can be acquired from the environment and is extremely common, especially among groups of people who share shower or wet areas, such as athletes in locker rooms.   In most cases verruca require multiple treatments. The virus which casues verucca usually dies after 1-2 years and warts will disappear.

Treatment

Prevention

·         Methods which destroy the wart (e.g. liquid nitrogen, laser surgery) usually work the best but can result in significant time off from play

·         Over the counter treatments may take weeks to months to work but do allow you to continue to compete

1.       Soak the wart for 10 minutes in water

2.       Rub the wart with a pumice stone (thoroughly wash the stone after use and do NOT use on unaffected skin)

3.       Apply topical salicyclic acid to wart (In most over counter wart paint remedies)

4.       Cover with duct tape

5.       Repeat every evening until clear

·         Avoid touching warts

·         Do not share clothing or personal items (i.e. towels, socks, shoes etc…) with someone who has verruca

·         Avoid scratching or picking verruca as this may spread warts to other areas

·         Avoid shaving over or around warts

·         Feet should be kept clean and dry and socks should be changed frequently to prevent warts.

Dry Skin

The demands of travel and unique environmental conditions dry skin can often be a problem for players.

Dry Skin Worsens with or in:

·         Age: older skin has fewer sweat and oil glands, so it is drier

·         Cities and regions with low humidity (e.g. Middle East)

·         Frequent soap use     

·         Low humidity in aircraft cabins

·         Wintertime

·         Playing on a clay surface

 

Treatment

Prevention

·         Block water from leaving your skin----vasoline or aquaphor® work to keep the water in your skin and work best if you soak your skin first (e.g. use after you shower)

·         Add water back to your skin ----this method is how most moisturizing creams work (e.g. eucerin®, cetaphil® etc..)

·         Creams that replace the “cement” which holds your top layer of skin cells together, (ie., cerave®)

·         Avoid hot showers

·         Don’t air dry your face or other areas of your body

·         Only use soap on your face, underarms, and groin.  Only plain water should hit your arms, legs, back and chest.

·         Even if you don’t yet have dry skin, use one of the agents in the treatment section

·         If you continue to have dry skin after trying the above steps, you may need to use a humidifier in the hotel room.

 

 

If you feel you may have any of the skin conditions listed above see a WTA PHCP, Sports Dermatologist or your physician.