- Nik Geyskens -
The NAQI skin care products are much appreciated by athletes and sports associations in a wide array of disciplines. Even more: the athletes’ wish is NAQI’s command! The products are made tailored to the needs of and in cooperation with those who have to use them on a daily basis in order to perform at top level. Nik Geyskens is Account Manager and International Training Manager at NAQI. We asked him what the challenges are with regard to the skin and why NAQI is the ideal skin care partner.
Nik, what do sports physicians have to take into account in terms of skin care and is there anything they can do preventively?
That’s quite a broad question and there’s a lot they can do, actually. The skin is very thin and is supposed to protect us in all kinds of circumstances and against different factors. A big ‘problem’ with athletes is that they shower a lot and that hot water and soap dissolve the protective fat layer of the skin. Besides, many athletes wear closed shoes which are not sufficiently ventilated and which do not give your feet the chance to get some air and do not let the sweat dry up quickly. Because of this the ‘barrier’ (the skin layer), which should protect us, can get damaged and micro-organisms get the opportunity to grow. Therefore, the aim is to strengthen the skin in that respect. This can be achieved by showering with a mild soap-free soap or shower gel, drying yourself off thoroughly also between the toes and letting the skin hydrate after showering. This is usually a bit more difficult for men than for women, because they don’t usually have the habit of applying a cream or taking care of their skin.
Cyclists obviously often have to deal with friction ...
That’s true, one of the parts that suffer is the bum. That’s one of the places where strengthening the skin is very important - to provide care and hydration. The functionality of the barrier layer must be restored. It has become so thin that every impact it undergoes is a kind of damage. It is very important not to use Vaseline, although it is popularly known to be a good protective product. It does give some sort of protection, but it won't allow the skin to breathe, the evaporation of water is blocked. If the moisture is trapped when you are doing sports, the skin becomes bland. Extra load on that bland skin will damage the skin. It is also important not to use antibacterial products which disturb the normal skin flora or products with a high content of ethereal oils which can irritate the skin.
Are there NAQI products that could help with this?
The NAQI Body Screen can be very useful in these cases. It can be applied preventively, and certainly not only to the bum. Cyclists sometimes suffer abrasion caused by the helmet buckle under their chin, or by a shirt that causes friction in the armpits or at the nipples. In these cases the Body Screen can also be applied. Athletes who suffer from abrasions due to friction should use the Body Screen regularly as a kind of day cream on the sensitive areas. It will help them prepare, protect and strengthen their skin in the run-up to a competition.
“Most of our products are the result of a demand from the market.”
Let’s talk specifically about abrasions. How are they treated and which NAQI products can be used?
An important remark to be made is that we do not offer wound care products, but skin care products. We can work around the wound to stimulate the healing process. For example with the NAQI Massage Oil Repair we have a positive effect on skin repair by applying essential fatty acids which are not produced by the body. In addition, it acts on the skin's elasticity. Once the wound is closed, the scars that are generated have an impact on the elasticity. Just imagine a cyclist with a scar on his knee. It will definitely affect his mobility and limit it. The scar will therefore slow down the mobility. The smoother the skin, the more comfortable you can move or the faster rehabilitation can be started.
Are there any other elements, other than the care products, that have a positive influence on the recovery of the skin?
I believe that the importance of good and sufficient rest and a balanced, healthy diet should certainly not be underestimated. An athlete has to listen to his body and respect what it asks for. This will help the recovery.
How is the collaboration between you and athletes, doctor, soigneurs ...? Do they sometimes ask specific questions about the development of certain products?
If we look at our sports range, it is true that most products are the result of a demand from the market. Cyclists would often have specific requests, because it is an endurance sport often taking place in extreme conditions. But we also work closely together with all kinds of sports associations, who use our products and recommend them to their athletes. Cyclists sometimes ask for a warming product with a different degree of warming. It may be too cold or too hot. They can also indicate, for example, that in certain circumstances a refreshing massage product is more pleasant than a conventional product. Their wish is our command!