Skin rashes of any kind are hard to interpret especially when one cannot see them. If you are having persistent rash following a workout, it is best to consult a dermatologist or your physician. A thorough evaluation may be necessary to rule out underlying health issues. In today’s guide, we will be studying common reasons for exercise induced urticaria and we will also study ways to treat it and minimize your discomfort so you can get back to your workout.
Red spots and rashes after workout
Many walkers and runners experience red spots and itchy rashes on their legs and feet. Often, there is no accompanying trauma or injury with it. Such a rash may be mistaken to be a sweat rash or heat rash (miliaria). However, in majority of the cases, the rash is not a sweat rash but it is Capillaritis. This is a harmless condition caused by ‘leaking capillaries’ which leads to reddish brown spots. Capillaries are tiny blood vessels whichsometimes become inflamed upon strenuous exercise. This leads to those brownish red spots on the skin.
Causes of red blotchy skin post exercise
Capillaritis is usually seen in people taking blood thinners such as Aspirin, as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like Ibuprofen. In women, birth control pills can also lead to blotchy skin after exercise.
Exercise induced Urticaria- Natural Treatment
There is really not much you can do in case your uritcaria, capillaritis or skin rash is caused due to the above reasons. However, the following natural remedies can go a long way in giving you much needed relief:
- Wear comfortable clothing. Avoid tight clothes that rub against the skin causing friction which aggravates the rash.
- Take a cool bath after the workout. If possible, soak in tepid bath water to which you have added some colloidal oatmeal. This will soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
- Sweating can aggravate the rash. Try to avoid going out in the heat. Instead, remain indoors in cool environment, especially in summers. During your workout, use a napkin to wipe off excess sweat. Wear cotton socks to absorb the perspiration.
- Drink plenty of water during and after the workout.
- Remove damp sweaty clothes immediately after the exercise. Wash the clothing in hot water and disinfecting soap to remove bacteria.
- Apply heat rash powder liberally on the skin to absorb excess sweat, both before the workout and after you shower.
- You can also use Calamine lotion post showering to prevent itchiness.
- Check your workout outfits. Many times, such clothes tend to have inner seams that rub against the skin causing unnecessary friction which leads to rash after exercise. Note that, sweating can cause irritation with clothes that were OK previously.
- Use petroleum jelly or zinc oxide ointments to prevent friction. This is a natural remedy to prevent rashes on buttocks and legs following exercise.
- Sometimes, sunscreen lotions can also cause a rash. Test your product prior to your run/walk to ensure the rash is not resulting from it.
Yeast rashes also occur due to sweat and mostly in areas where there is dampness along with friction. Many women complain of yeast rashes on their thighs, groin and flabby areas of the stomach. Such a rash tends to leave the skin puffy, warm to touch, red and irritated. Yeast rashes must be treated immediately because, left on their own, they can grow and take control of the skin. To prevent Yeast rashes after workout, remove the sweaty clothes immediately. Rinse the sweat and bacteria off the skin. In case you are a swimmer, peel off the wet swim wear and wash your skin off immediately. To prevent rashes after exercise, use ointments containing zinc oxide, bisabolol, allantoin or petrolatum. Avoid use of cornstarch or talcum powders as they stick to the skin and create perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi.
Can you workout with a heat rash?
Yes. It is perfectly okay to continue your life as normal despite a rash. However, in case the rash is oozing or you are running a fever, it is recommended taking a day or two off. Let the heat rash heal completely before resuming workout. If your skin is very itchy, you can take some Benadryl to counter the itch. Your doctor could also prescribe some non-drowsy antihistamine to help avoid daytime sleepiness. The use of 1% hydrocortisone is also beneficial, but do avoid using it for more than 3 days.
Some more important things to know about post exercise rashes
- Make sure the rash is not caused due to contact dermatitis. In such a case, you may need to switch to a hypoallergenic detergent or soap to wash yourself and your clothing.
- Exercise could even give rise to allergic reactions since histamines are stimulated that give rise to rashes on chest and thighs.
- Food allergies can also be the cause of rashes. Certain drugs, tranquilizers etc can all give rise to rashes. Talk to your doctor to rule these out.
Most exercise induced rashes disappear on their own within a few days. If your rash is still present after a couple of weeks or you are unable to exercise due to it, have it examined immediately by your physician.