Top 9 Tips for Exercising with Eczema

We all know that exercising has a long list of benefits including boosting your immune system, improving cardiovascular health, decreasing anxiety and depression, and so much more. However, exercising can be a double edged sword for some people who are sensitive to sweat causing skin irritation.

During exercise, our bodies produce sweat which evaporates to keep the body from overheating. But when sweat dries, the salt content left on the skin can cause irritation and dry out your skin. This leads to scratching, further irritation, and inflammation of your skin. Despite the discomfort you may feel, do not let this discourage you from physical activity. Here are the top 9 tips to minimize irritation and maximize the benefits of your workout. 

    1. Choose an appropriate exercise environment with maximum airflow and minimum heat exposure to reduce sweating. If you are exercising outdoors, try the morning or evening times when it is cooler and has less sun exposure. When you exercise indoors, set up a fan or position yourself under a vent to maximize airflow. Not only will this help reduce perspiration, it can help you exercise for longer periods.

    2. Avoid tight clothing to reduce trapping sweat and allow skin to breathe. Tight fitting workout clothes like leggings can trap sweat and create more heat. Combined with friction during physical activity, this leads to a higher risk of irritation and discomfort. Choose breathable fabrics and looser fitting clothing to increase airflow and allow your skin to cool down properly. 

    3. Apply moisturizer pre and post workout.  Since your skin loses moisture through sweat during exercise, applying moisturizer before and after helps reduce dehydration of your skin. Apply moisturizer 30-60 minutes before working out to allow the moisture to soak in. After your workout, apply moisturizer onto clean skin after bathing to seal in moisture.
        
    4. Be prepared and pack your skin must-haves in your gym bag. Preparedness is key to minimizing and preventing irritation. Eczema Honey’s Cooling Body Rounds can be used to remove excess dirt and dried sweat, simultaneously applying moisture to your skin. Keep a moisturizer handy to apply on any dry spots. Don’t wait until you get home to apply your skin products. 

    5. Change up your workout to avoid excessive sweating. Explore low intensity workouts like stretching for strength, toning workouts where you hold single positions, or rejuvenating yoga sequences. For a higher calorie burn, swimming is a good alternative to get your heart rate up without sweating. Be sure to rinse off any salt or chlorine right after. 

    6. If you must stick to your favorite workout routine, try to take more frequent breaks to cool down and drink water. Instead of pushing through your workout to end up drenched in sweat, take more frequent breaks to keep your body cool. Use your breaks to dab off excess sweat and take sips of water to stay hydrated. 

    7. Always clean your equipment before and after use. Be sure to wipe down any equipment, mat, or machine that you use before your workout. Be mindful about soft porous materials like yoga mats and machine paddings, as they can harbor bacteria and leftover residue from previous workouts or previous users. For best sanitary practices, clean all your gear and equipment right after use.

    8. Use a soft towel to dab off excess sweat. If your gym provides towels, chances are that they are not always soft. Abrasion from rough, old towels can irritate the skin. Bring a soft, absorbent towel and remove excess sweat by dabbing instead of wiping across your body. The less friction you apply, the less risk of scratching your skin and spreading your sweat. 

    9. Wrap up your workout with a cool down session and rinse the sweat off after. Staying in your work out clothes for the remainder of the day can increase the risk of a rash or skin irritation. Be sure to shower with mild soap and use lukewarm or cold water, as hot water can further dry out your skin. 



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