Sports are fun. They’re a great way to keep fit and hangout with your friends. But, they can also be a cause of what’s often referred to as ‘sporty skin’. So, what is this? It’s an umbrella term for skin problems that are common in athletes. Yep. Even NBA players and Olympians can suffer from them. Here’s everything you need to know, including top tips on how to tackle skin problems.
How to prevent back acne
From bacne (aka back acne) to breakouts on your face, your favourite sporty past time could be a factor that’s adding to your blemish count. There’s a specific type of acne (acne mechanica) which is super common amongst athletes. It can be caused from factors such as sweat, staying in sweaty clothes for too long, and the friction from your training clothes.
To help prevent breakouts, here are our top tips:
No, this isn’t just an excuse to rock a new look pre/post gym class. Staying in sweaty clothes for too long is a major reason why athletes suffer from breakouts. The moist conditions are a breeding ground for bacteria. Change into fresh clothes asap – don’t sit around in your training clothes.
A good fit
Who knew your clothes were so instrumental in fighting acne? Poor fitting clothes cause friction against your skin, which can cause acne. Wear clothes that fit properly when training and wear an extra layer (e.g. a light tee) if the problem persists.
Wiping away sweat is such a natural reflex, sometimes we don’t even realise we’re doing it. The problem is, this could be causing you to break out. Not only will your hands be transferring a lot of bacteria to your face, but you’ll be spreading sweat across your face and into your pores.
Sometimes if you’re heading to a class straight from work or on your lunchtime, it can be tempting to workout with your makeup on. But, if you’re not using the right products (eg. breathable, non-comedogenic powders), this could also mean that you’re more prone to clogging your pores as you sweat it out. If in doubt, remove heavier makeup before you work up a sweat.
Treating athlete's foot
It's called athlete’s foot for a reason, people. It’s a skin infection on the feet caused by fungi that can become inflamed, sore, and itchy. This fungi thrives in warm, moist environments – so all those hard training sessions resulting in sweaty socks could be the culprit. Also, athlete’s foot is known for being contagious and can be spread through contact with the skin, so the showers could be responsible.
Don’t worry, though! You don’t need to avoid showering after practice (*cough* refer to our ‘breakouts’ section). To prevent athlete’s foot, avoid walking barefoot in public changing rooms by wearing shower shoes or flip-flops. You should also avoid sharing towels with others and wash them frequently.
If you’re already suffering from athlete’s foot, then there is something you can do to help clear it up. Use an anti-fungal cream, gel, or spray to ease your symptoms. If you need more advice (especially if symptoms are still present after 2 weeks) then chat to a Superdrug pharmacist for more advice.
Sports and sweat go together like Bonnie and Clyde. Obviously, it’s natural to break a sweat while you get your game on, but sweating excessively can make people self-conscious and lead to breakouts. But, there are a few ways to reduce the amount you sweat (but not too much – your body needs it to cool itself down).
This may be obvious, but one reason a lot of people sweat so much when playing sports is that they’re wearing the wrong deodorant. Antiperspirants work to produce the production of sweat and break up odours – making them much more effective than a standard deodorant (which masks odours).
Upgrade your game kit by opting for breathable fabrics. As the name suggests, they’ll give your skin room to breathe, which will also allow sweat to evaporate.
Keep it clean
Not only does putting on old workout clothes feel super gross, but it could be making you sweat. You want sweat to evaporate when you’re active, so you don’t want to start with a layer of extra moisture to get rid of.
If your sport of choice is weightlifting, then you may be familiar with calluses. Calluses are caused by excessive pressure and friction, which creates a hardened/thick patch of skin. For athlete’s, they’re commonly found on the palms of the hands as you grip into things like bar and weights.
To avoid this skin problem when training you can reduce the friction by using chalk when doing weights, or keeping the skin moisturised after you work out.