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This Is Why You Should Always Wear Sunscreen When Running Outside

Warning: These blisters are pretty graphic, tbh.

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Nisbet has been running for over nine years now, and has completed 11 marathons to date. Recently, she participated in an ultramarathon, where she ran 69 miles in 21 hours.

That's a lot of miles.

Nisbet started her 69-mile trek at 7 a.m. without any sunscreen, but once she reached her first pit stop at 10 a.m., she applied SPF 30 all over her body and legs.

She thought the SPF 30 would be sufficient, telling BuzzFeed, "It was only 10 a.m., and the sun wasn't too high in the sky, so at that point I still felt OK." When she reached her next pit stop at 27 miles, Nisbet said she could feel the backs of her legs burning. But she just applied more sunscreen and continued on.

However, 21 hours later, when she had finally completed the 69-mile trek, Nisbet said the burning sensation on the back of her legs was intense, and small blisters had begun to form.

Courtesy of Julie Nisbet

After sleeping for a couple of hours, Nisbet said she went to an urgent care clinic, where they bandaged her up and asked her to return the next day.

By day three, Nisbet said her pain was pure agony as they drained the fluid and re-bandaged her legs once again. But Nisbet is finally on the road to recovery.

Courtesy of Julie Nisbet

"The healing process has been painful — the burning and throbbing as the blisters have filled was a horrendous experience. The pressure in my legs when standing/walking has been also been agonizing at times. But a week on, it's all improving. The itching beneath the bandages has started, so hopefully I can have the bandages off completely in the next few weeks!"

"Serious sunburns are extremely common in marathon runners," Dr. Whitney Bowe, a board-certified dermatologist, told BuzzFeed. "People often think sunscreen is enough, but most people apply too little sunscreen."

Courtesy of Julie Nisbet

According to Bowe, "even if your bottle says SPF 30, you are probably only getting an SPF of 10 or 15 based on the amount most people typically apply. Also, people don't reapply often enough. If your skin is dry, you can get away with reapplying every two hours, but athletes usually are sweating."

When asked what runners, and marathon runners in particular, can do to ensure this doesn't happen to them, Dr. Bowe said it was relatively simple. "For marathon runners, or athletes who plan on spending many long hours in the hot sun, I suggest wearing sun protective clothing and reapplying a water-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen at least every hour. Marathon runners should also consider supplements like Heliocare (a capsule that contains antioxidants that might provide some extra sun protection)."

And, in case you were wondering, Nisbet is aware of her mistake. She told BuzzFeed, "I'm under no illusion of how negligent I was. Our body is a wonderful and resilient thing, but it also needs constant care, and I didn't pay enough attention during that race to reapply suncream. It's been a harsh lesson to learn."

If you're absolutely terrified to go out in the sun now, don't worry. Dr. Bowe notes that people shouldn't fear the sun, but they do need to take care of their skin.

"Being outdoors feels wonderful, and is essential to embracing life, enjoying your family, and living a healthy lifestyle. The catch is, you just need to be safe and take care of your skin."

Due to the agony of the burns, Nisbet said she hasn't yet celebrated what she did accomplish that day. "I haven't had time to be proud of the fact that I started, and finished, my first ever ultramarathon, completing a distance of 69 miles!"

We hope she gets to experience that joy soon!

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