6 Annoying Skin Issues That You May Get When You Exercise

  • Skin Infections Caused By Dirty Gym Equipment
    1 / 6 Skin Infections Caused By Dirty Gym Equipment

    With so many people using the same exercise machines every day, germs and bacteria are easily spread. And that can lead to some skin infections.

    The fix: “Whenever possible, wipe down any gym equipment before you use it—even if you think someone already did so; and never, ever touch your face until your hands have been washed,” says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf advisor. 

    “Touching the machine and then touching your face can transfer these bacteria, causing acne and even infection.”

    Related: 5 Grooming Fast Fixes For Sunny Singapore

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  • Heat Rash Caused By Working Out In A Hot Environment
    2 / 6 Heat Rash Caused By Working Out In A Hot Environment

    Heat and humidity can cause sweat ducts to become blocked and swell, leading to a heat rash. 

    “This condition, which often appears in the form of tiny pink or red dots that look similar to pimples, is most common around skin folds and areas where clothing causes friction,” says Dr. Schlessinger.

    Related: Why Do You Sweat More Than Your Buddy?

    The fix: If you’re heading outdoors for a walk, run, or bike ride, stop and seek a shady place to rest every now and then—preferably somewhere that’s air conditioned.

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  • Hyperpigmentation Caused By Exercising Outdoors Sans SPF
    3 / 6 Hyperpigmentation Caused By Exercising Outdoors Sans SPF

    UV exposure can seriously damage your skin, leading to fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

    The fix: “If you exercise outside, it’s very important to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin at least 30 minutes before heading out and reapply often,” says Dr. Schlessinger. 

    Related: 6 Steps To Follow When You Apply Sunscreen

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  • Body Acne Caused By Wearing Tight Fitness Gear
    4 / 6 Body Acne Caused By Wearing Tight Fitness Gear

    Working out in an outfit that’s too tight can cause sweat and bacteria to become trapped inside your clothes. 

    This irritates your skin and causes your body to break out. “Your sweat creates a warm, damp environment where acne bacteria can thrive,” says Dr. Schlessinger.

    The fix: “The best way to prevent body acne is to shower immediately after you work out if you think your clothing is hugging too tightly,” says Dr. Schlessinger. 

    Related: Improve Your Skin With These 5 Habits

    “Benzoyl peroxide works gently to remove excess oil, bacteria, dirt, and other impurities,” he says.

    No shower at your facility? Change into fresh clothes and shower as soon as you get home. 

    You can also try wearing looser, more breathable fabrics to minimize the amount of trapped sweat. 

    If you do notice breakouts on your back or chest, target trouble spots with a salicylic acid treatment.

    “It has a 360-degree spray nozzle that allows for easy application from any angle—perfect for those hard-to-reach areas like the back,” says Dr. Schlessinger.

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  • Chafing Caused By Constant Rubbing Of Skin
    5 / 6 Chafing Caused By Constant Rubbing Of Skin

    When your skin repeatedly rubs against clothing or other areas of skin, you’re sometimes left with red, raw patches that sting and burn.

    The fix: “Working out in smooth, low-friction fabrics and avoiding loose-fitting clothes on sensitive areas that are usually in motion can make a world of a difference,” says Dr. Schlessinger.

    If you do experience chafing, wash the area with lukewarm or cool water and some gentle soap and apply an antibiotic ointment, keeping it covered as it heals.

    Once you’re ready to get back at it, try using an anti-fungal powder to absorb excess moisture while you exercise.

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  • Athlete's Foot Caused By Taking A Shower Barefoot
    6 / 6 Athlete's Foot Caused By Taking A Shower Barefoot

    “The fungi that lead to athlete’s foot, a scaly rash that causes itching, stinging, and burning between the toes, can be found on the floor of many public shower stalls,” says Dr. Schlessinger. 

    “You’re also at risk for contracting onychomycosis, a fungal infection that causes toenails to become thickened, brittle, and hardened with a yellow discoloration.” 

    And quite possibly the worst foot-contaminating fact you’ve never thought of: Even the smallest of cuts on the bottom of your feet could allow the human papillomavirus (HPV) to sneak through and cause a painful plantar wart.

    The fix: The best way to protect your feet if you shower at the gym is to always wear shower shoes—even while you’re changing in the locker room. 

    “It’s also a good idea to clean your shower shoes with a disinfectant like bleach and replace them regularly,” says Dr. Schlessinger. 

    And notice anything different on your feet, head to your local pharmacy for OTC creams like cortisone, which can clear up most harmless infections.

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