The relationship between eczema and exercise is complicated. On the one hand, exercising lowers your stress levels, boosts your mood, and strengthens your heart and muscles. On the other hand, when you exercise, you sweat, and when you sweat...you trigger eczema flare-ups!
Meet the notorious eczema-sweat conundrum. While the side-effects of sweating make it difficult for an eczema sufferer to stay active, you shouldn’t let it stop you! Let’s take a look at some simple measures you can take to manage your sweat, so that you can maintain a healthy lifestyle without worsening your skin condition.
Please keep in mind that although these what we discuss in this post can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.
Eczema and Sweat
Sweating is the body’s way of regulating its temperature to prevent it from overheating. As sweat evaporates, the surface of your skin gets the cooling relief it needs - great! Unfortunately, once the sweat dries, your skin is left with a salty residue due to the sodium found in perspiration. This can lead to dehydration, which in turn, can lead to stinging and itchiness.
How to Manage Sweat and Eczema
Stay Hydrated: If you suffer from eczema, you’ll already have dry skin and a weaker skin barrier. This makes it even more imperative to drink lots of water before, during, and after your workout. The more you drink, the more diluted the sodium in your sweat will be, making irritation less likely to be severe.
Take Regular Breaks: If you vigorously exercise without stopping to catch your breath, your body will be working overtime to stay cool. As you probably know, extreme temperatures are one of the prime causes of eczema flare-ups. To avoid overheating, do your skin a favour and split up your workout.
Shower and Moisturize Right Away: To prevent the sodium in your sweat from sticking to your skin and causing irritation, it’s important to shower immediately after exercising. Be sure to take a cool shower as opposed to a hot one, as hot water is horrible for eczema-prone skin. Choosing the right soap is also an important step in managing skin after workouts. Some of our favorite natural soaps for eczema include this Tallow Bar Soap with Zinc and this Emily Skin Soothers Soap that contains olive oil and soothing Chinese herbs to keep skin nourished. It's also available in liquid form.
Follow up with a soothing moisturizer that is rich in emollients. We suggest the Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream. Made with manuka honey, beeswax, and tea nut-free oils, it’s gentle and nourishing for dry skin.
To learn how to naturally heal from any form of eczema, check out our educational post: Eczema 104: How to Treat Eczema Naturally.
Wear the Right Clothing: Choosing your workout clothes strategically will minimize the likelihood of irritation. For example, avoid clothing made with nylon, spandex or latex as these fabrics are known to exacerbate eczema symptoms. Soft, breathable fabrics, such as the ones used by Remedywear™, are ideal. Made with TENCEL™ and anti-bacterial zinc, all Remedywear garments offer supreme breathability and contain natural moisture-wicking properties. This makes them perfect for targeting sweat induced flare-ups. Eczema clothing can be an excellent tool in eczema therapy.
This Remedywear Long Sleeve Shirt provides a form-fitting layer of protection on the arms, chest, stomach, and back while these Remedywear pants protect the legs, calves, thighs, hips or buttocks. If you’re looking to spot treat sweat-induced eczema on the elbows or knees, try these Remedywear Eczema Sleeves and Bands. All clothing is made with allergies in mind so they are chemical-free and hypoallergenic.
Stay Dry with Towel: Another great way to minimize the sweat on your body while exercising is by drying periodically with a towel. Be sure to pat instead of wipe as this is less likely to cause irritation.
Know your Limit: Listen to your body; don’t overexert yourself. If it’s too hot outside to go for a run, find an air-conditioned spot with a treadmill or schedule your workout for early in the morning or late at night when the temperature is cooler.
If you’re experiencing a flare-up, don’t be ashamed to lessen the intensity of your workout or even take a few days off until your skin calms down. Finally, bear in mind that there are many great ways to stay fit without doing intense cardio. Have you tried pilates, tai-chi, yoga, or even weight-training? These low-impact workouts are not only great for your body, but they are beneficial for your mind as well.
As uncomfortable as eczema is, there’s no need to let it restrict your life. We hope that the above tips help you manage your sweat so that you can keep exercising while avoiding flare-ups.
Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for The Eczema Company. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes.