The Skin Problems Your Workout is Giving You… and How to Beat Them

Categories Grooming


Working out is great for your body but challenging for your skin… here’s now to combat the effects.


The sweat and dirt you accumulate during a workout builds up and blocks the pores, inviting back the pimples that have been in hibernation since your awkward teenage years. And post-exercise acne isn’t just confined to your face — tight and sweaty clothes trap bacteria and can spark breakouts across your chest and back. The solution is simple: shower straight after your workout to wash off the grime.



There’s not an Australian alive who hasn’t had the ‘slip, slop, slap’ message tattooed into their brain but it’s still easy to forget to apply sunscreen before an outdoor session . . . and especially easy to neglect to apply it 30 minutes before you start working out, which is the key to making sure you don’t just sweat off all that SP50 as soon as you start exercising.

Skin infections

Gyms are like Club Med for bacteria — think of the hundreds sweaty bodies dripping all over those communal machines — so thoroughly wipe down every piece of equipment you use (even with antibacterial wipes if you’re a real germaphobe). You’re unlikely to get a serious infection but irritating rashes are crawling everywhere — keep equipment clean and wash your hands after you’re finished grappling with the handlebars on the treadmill or pulldown machine.



Chafing and sweat rash

Every runner knows that eye-watering feeling of thigh on thigh; that unholy equation of sweat plus friction equals chafing. Sweltering summer workouts also risk sweat rash: tiny red dots popping up in areas prone to overheating. Vaseline up before you start exercising and wash the tender area gently with cool water and soap afterwards, while this new wave of smooth, modern exercise gear fights chafing by wicking sweat away from the body.


Athlete’s foot

Another skin infection waiting to pounce at the gym — the fungal bacteria coating the shower floor that can cause scaly skin and a burning feeling between the toes, as well as warts and toenail infections. Wear thongs in the showers and dry your feet thoroughly afterwards, and over-the-counter creams are available at chemists if the tinea starts winning the war.