Down to run the 26.2-mile big jog this Sunday? Listen up. Sore pins and blisters aren’t the only side-effects you might be feeling post-London Marathon...
Newsflash: ‘runner face’ is an actual thing, according to dermatologists in-the-know. Say what?! It's the premature-ager that could affect regular pavement pounders like Ellie Goulding and Reese Witherspoon.
So a) what is it? And b) does Paula Radcliffe know about this?!
It’s all down to the fat-burning cardio effects. “Runner face is the result of loss of facial fat,” explains Dr Mervyn Patterson, cosmetic dermatologist at Woodford Medical.
“The impact is most noticed on the cheeks - and once you lose it from this zone, the lower face loses its ‘lift’ and the face then slides downwards and forwards.”
We’re not talking a gentle jog a la Rihanna here *insert sigh of relief*. You’re most likely to spot the classic symptoms of runner face if you’re a high-impact, long-distance kinda gal (so running for the bus doesn’t count, btw).
Fear not, roadrunner types. In beauty land, there’s even a specific treatment to give runner face the boot. FaceGym has recently launched a Runner Face lifting facial (£80 for 40 minutes) to help bring some bounce back to sagging skin.
Before you freak out, runner face doesn’t always strike. Women in their 30s and 40s are prone to the dreaded droop faster than non-runners. And you’re most likely to be affected if you're on the super-slim side, or have thin, fragile skin, according to FaceGym founder Inge Theron.
“Serious pavement pounding can prompt three premature agers - continous micro trauma, sun damage and weight loss,” Inge says. “It’s a good idea to balance your running with some facial exercise.” Think yoga for the face.
No need to hang up your runners. Follow Inge’s tips for sag-free skin:
1. Take up face yoga. Yep, seriously. A bit of DIY self facial massage can make ALL the difference
READ MORE: Why Face Yoga Is The New Botox
2. Slather on a robust, sweat-proof SPF when you’re running outdoors to limit UV exposure (another major ager). Wearing a hat can also help – plus it hides a sweaty face if you run into your ex...
3. Eat for your skin, so loads of selenium, zinc and vitamin C packed foods
4. Do daily supplements – aim for fish oils and a collagen supplement to give your skin an internal boost
5. Hate those big Swiss gym balls? Make like the FaceGym treatment and use their diddy FaceBall (£30) that’s specifically designed for deep tissue release. Apparently it also works a treat on Phone Face (but that's a whole other feature).