Exercise is great for the mind, body, and spirit. Hundreds of clinical studies have demonstrated the amazing effects working out can have on the body. If you are living an active lifestyle (or it’s a New Year’s resolution), here are a few tips to avoid some common skin problems that can develop with a regular exercise routine.
- Acne: Clogged pores and acne can be an unwanted side effect of sweating for some people. If you are prone to acne, wash your face before and after working out to remove debris that could clog pores when sweating. Immediately after working out, take a shower to cleanse the sweat away from the chest and back and use a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide body wash if “bacne” is an issue.
- Dry skin: After sweating, the skin can sometimes feel dry and tight. To help soothe and replenish the skin, be sure to moisturize immediately (within 3 minutes) of getting out of the shower. One of my favorites is Eucerin Advanced Repair lotion because it is a very effective moisturizer and has a light, silky feel on the skin after a workout.
- Butt-bumps: A common complaint for people who work out regularly is consistent red bumps on the buttocks. Often a result of friction caused by tight workout pants, these bumps are not signs of classic acne but rather develop when the tiny hairs on the buttocks are irritated with occlusion from tight clothing. If this is a problem, avoid wearing tight workout pants for long periods of time. Although today’s workout clothes are very comfortable and stylish, if dealing with “butt-bumps” it is best to avoid spending the entire day in workout or yoga pants to reduce occlusion and friction on the skin of the buttocks.
- Athlete’s foot: At the gym, wear shoes and socks at all times. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot likes to grow in warm, wet places. When in the gym shower, bring flip-flops and change them often to avoid the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. If dry, itchy skin or cracks between the toes and on the bottom of the foot are present, a tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) infection is likely. Treat it with over-the-counter anti-fungal creams, keep feet dry (which means get them out of hot, sweaty sneakers as much as possible) and change socks often.
- Warts: Similar to athlete’s foot, wear shoes, socks and flip-flops whenever in the gym, regardless of how “clean” the facility looks. There are over 100 varieties of human papilloma virus or HPV that cause warts. Although only a few HPV types cause plantar (bottom of the foot) warts, these warts can be extremely stubborn to treat. The best way to avoid infection when in a public place like a gym is to keep a barrier between the feet and public surfaces as much as possible.