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Working out causes breaking out

Exercising seems to cause my chest to break out in red bumps, and they take days to go away. Does anyone else experience this? What is this? What can I do to clear up my skin? Thanks!

Thu. Feb 9, 5:54pm

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I have the same issues, working out and sweating causes overall skin instability, itching etc. Really would love to figure out what is going on.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 6:05 PM

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water, water, water...

Drinking at least 64 oz. of water everyday has done wonders for the skin all over my body... Have you tried that?

Could it be your bra? Do you have a good workout bra that is made with some kind of breathable fabric?

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 6:05 PM

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well, I'm a guy, and I'm pretty certain my break outs have NOTHING to do with bras. LOL
I break out when I start exercising/dieting. My theory, whiched is PURELY made up and based on nothing but a hunch, is that working out causes one to sweat, and with in that sweat is "stuff", "toxins", the body is getting rid of.
maybe as we start to eat better, and exercise more, and drink more water, our bodies are purging, getting rid of some nasty junk, and the result is skin irritation, or break outs?
Just a thought. I'm not a Doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I'm just making a guess. LOL

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 6:44 PM

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I drink 64+ oz of water a day and I work out all the time. I tend to be breaking out more on my face and extremly odd places on my body. I think my body is having a reaction to all the sweating I do during a work-out. I also noticle that while I am working out my arms itch like crazy, and its not the fabric because I am wearing a tank top. :p

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 6:46 PM

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I'm the second poster and I generally do not wear bras- I'm a guy. The last time I wore one was in college, whole other story.

But yeah, water seems to help. I also lived in lower manhattan during 9/11 and my skin issues have popped up since then. I'm not sure if there is a connection because most of the heavy metals associated with the towers coming down would have left my body no later than a few months after. So it might be a total coincidence. But its really cut down on my working out because my skin is a mess for many days after.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 6:58 PM

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If you're new to working out...well, I had this problem in the first few weeks on my chest, upper back and hairline, but it's fine now. I drink 100-120oz of water a day, and my body recently discovered how to sweat out of every pore; it kicks in pretty early in my workouts now.

So, to the guy poster who had a crossdressing moment in college, I think you might be right about the toxins/minerals in your sweat -- you just need to dilute them more.


Thursday, February 09, 2006, 7:09 PM

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breaks out occur when your body's oil mixes with dead skin cells forming a plug in the pore(s).

Drinking water is helpful not because it 'cleanses your sweat' or some such thing but because a properly hydrated body has soft, pliable, non-oily (non-flaky) skin.

Vigorous exercise can stimulate oil production (in some more than others), which when combined with heat, persperation and friction (rubbing against clothing) aggravate acne. Wearing loose cotton clothing and showering immediately after a work out can help.

Some good info and advice here:

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 7:44 PM

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Try washing with some kind of scrubby or loofah (or even just a washcloth) to help unclog some of those blocked pores. Maybe that will help as well! ;-)

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 7:54 PM

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I have to be careful about rashes when I work out. Here is what I find helpful -

1) Normally I can lift weights - it is the sweeting and heat that causes the rash for me.
2) Always wash off with at least a washcloth right after working out.
3) I make sure to drink a lot of water.
4) I work out for short periods of time.
5) If it is hot, I'll swim - that won't give me a rash.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 8:10 PM

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breaking out

i believe you are stirring up the toxins in your body and this is one way how your body is cleansing itself. drink more water.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 8:32 PM

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As someone said above, the workout break outs are mostly from dead skin plugging your pores. Use some sort of scrub when washing but make sure it's not too rough as that can irritate the skin and cause redness too. Also, make sure to change out of your sweaty workout clothes (this includes those undies!!!) and into "clean" clothes afterwards. The bacteria that starts to grow in your workout clothes post-workout can cause skin problems if you continue to wear them after your workout.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 9:10 PM

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Exercise-induced hives?

I actually have the same thing happen when I work out. I get itchy, red bumps that feel hot and bothersome. I have gone to an allergist about it, because mine happen other times as well - when I'm around cats, when something is too tight against my skin, like some pants waistbands or tight socks, and when I get too hot. The ones I get after working out make it seem like I'm allergic to myself, that my body can't handle my own sweat.

I recommend several things:
1. Have a towel handy to wipe sweat off you regularly. This makes a huge difference for me.
2. Take a shower immediately after you work out. Be sure to clean off all the sweat, but don't bother scrubbing extra hard or anything - that's likely to make them worse.
3. If they're still there after your shower, perhaps use some cortisone creme, which you can buy over the counter at the drug store. It really helps with the itching!
4. Think about scheduling a visit with an allergist if you think it might be hives. They might suggest medication.
5. Try to really cool down after your workout. I sometimes run lots and lots of cold water over my face (where I get them most) or stay outside where it's cooler if I feel like my body temperature is up still...

I actually had one doctor tell me to stop working out when it happens. However, that seems a ridiculous solution, so I just try to minimize the discomfort and keep my health and fitness!

You might want to do some research online, searching for "hives" or "exercise induced hives" or "urticaria."

Good luck! I hope you find a good way to deal with it, and I hope they go away. That often happens!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 9:43 PM

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To the poster right above me...

Be careful of cooling yourself too quickly (i.e. taking a cool shower). The shock of the extreme change in temperature could cause you to faint!

Also, are you working out at a health club or at home? Could it be possible that you're allergic to some else's cologne, lotion or perfume (maybe residual on exercise equipment?)

Of course, if you are working out at home, then never mind...

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 11:23 PM

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Thanks for the concern and the questions - as well as the concern about cooling down too quickly. I can't actually stand a cold shower, but find that a shower at any temperature that gets my sweat off my body will help.

Unfortunately, I've had hives for over 3 years now. They just started showing up at random times, but have settled into more predictable patterns now. Sweat = hives. It's happened at the gym, at home, walking around town, hiking on vacation, when I get too warm at work, and so on. I take some anti-histamines every day to moderate it... and have had non-workout-associated breakouts that have sent me to the emergency room because my eyes, lips, and tongue were swelling. Only breaking out after exercise for the most part now is actually something of a relief...

I'm thinking about seeing a homeopathic advisor for their take on it. My physician and allergist haven't been able to do anything but treat the symptoms.

But back to the folks who started this thread, I do hope the tips I provided earlier will be helpful to you. (And if anyone else has suggestions for me, I'm happy to hear them. It's a frustrating thing to deal with, but I'm still hoping it will go away completely...)

Friday, February 10, 2006, 8:41 AM

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Have you tried eliminating wheat from your diet? It's a pain to do, but I have a cousin and an aunt (not mother/daughter) who are both allergic to wheat with symptoms sort of like what you are experiencing. For both of them, even just limiting the amount of wheat they consume helps control the symptoms.

Friday, February 10, 2006, 9:21 AM

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I'm having the same problem with breakouts since I started working out regularly.
I wash before and after, but it doesn't really help. Has anybody found a good facial scrub or any sort of product that they've found at all helpfull?

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 1:27 PM

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take some sea salt, put it in a jar, add a little olive oil or almond oil- just enought to "wet" the salt, not soak it. Ta da! Home made scrub. Salt too abrasive for you? Use granulated sugar. Female- add a drop or two of essential oil- lavender, orange, ylang ylang, eucalyptus, jasmine, whatever you like...

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 1:59 PM

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Oh, and always always ALWYAS remember- a scrub is what you buy, not what you do!!! NEVER "scrub" your face- massage a scrub over it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 2:01 PM

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A good scrub can work wonders, but also remember "everything in moderation" - if you scrub too much your skin will become irritated and dry and 'more' prone to breakouts. So a little scrubbing can go a long way. Also - make sure you are using warm or tepid water in your shower and not hot and pat dry. If you have somewhat dry skin this is where you follow up with a moisturizer.

Oatmeal (not the instant kind) has been proven to reduce irritation and inflamation so consider adding it to a bath once a week or so (and if your skin isn't irritated it still doesn't hurt). Once is week is how often most people should exfoliate/scrub.

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 2:49 PM

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I like the Neutrogena body scrub, it has some salycilic acid in it and has seemed to help with my breakouts. I only use it on my chest/back in order to not try out the rest of my skin too much.

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 9:45 PM

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exercise causes all sorts of skin problems for me. If you have sensitive skin, how can you exercise without inflaming the skin?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 9:37 AM

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external and internal hydration is the way to go. I have been struggling with this for a year, and at the end of the day you have to make changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Friday, October 27, 2006, 11:16 AM

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When you break out from working out, often it is an indication of junk coming to the surface of your skin and that your body needs to detox more. Sweating is as important for body detox as the liver is. Couple ideas for detox:

-Epsom Salt Baths stimulate the lymph system and draw toxins out of the system
-Drink lots and lots of water, preferably mineral water
-Deep breating is a powerful detox method
-Green Food. the chlorophyll in plants and the hemoglobin in human blood have the same biochemical compostion. The more chlorophyll the blood gets, the better its ability to clean the system

Saturday, February 10, 2007, 9:59 AM

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Do you experience this itching and breakouts only in the winter. I bet your skin is too dry. I think you should lotion up after each shower. That is what I do. And to keep clean, make sure you really lather up in the shower. But always apply lotion all over your body. Try the best you can on your back unless you have somebody else to help you.
Let us know how it goes.

Sunday, February 11, 2007, 6:29 PM

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washing and scrubbing

I just started working out and my break outs on my chest have started up again. It is like little bumps, almost blisters - they don't look like pimples, but they aren't pretty Probably areount 15 or so.

I'm tryng to wash my face and chest before I work out - hopefully giving the pores a little freedom to sweat. As for washing - no soaps, only light cleansers and i add a half teaspoon of baking soda to the cleanser. It is the perfect scrub, will not scratch skin and it is cheap. My sister (esthetician) has been using it for years, it wasn't till I saw it on Oprah a few months ago that I did.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007, 11:12 PM

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break out

I have a problem with skin irritation when ever I begin to sweat it only lasts about 5 minutes or so but it is the most uncomfortable 5 minutes ever! I have tried different detergents and I know its not my clothes because it happens when I come out of the shower and I haven' put any clothes on. I seems to go away for weeks at a time then come back for some odd reason.I cant seem to find any relief. Email me if you can help me, I would really appreciate it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007, 3:14 PM

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exercise induced hives

I have had some bad problems with hives - my doctor says they are heat induced and we all know that exercise=heat. I have been taking Zyrtec for a couple of years and it works pretty well and has no side effects.

Monday, October 01, 2007, 8:45 PM

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excercise acne

I use a clearasil face wash in the shower every morning - on my face and chest and it helps.

Monday, October 01, 2007, 8:46 PM

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I have the same problem

I have been breaking out with red little bumps on my chest too. I have been working out for 2 months now and I have been having this problem for 2 months. I never thought it could possibly be from sweating. I drink water, but maybe I should increase the amount I drink daily.

Friday, March 20, 2009, 10:14 AM

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This JUST started happening to me and I DO believe it is toxins being released. I've exercised constantly for 3-4 years 5x a week and I always sweat like crazy, but never got any red bumps on my chest.... In just the past week, I started Dr Fuhrman's 'Eat To Live' 6-week plan very closely which is very detoxing, as you probably know (if you don't know about it, it's mostly just vegetables, beans and fruit.. read about it!) and suddenly the bumps are all over my chest. I have a huge party in LA this weekend and my chest is going to look messed up but I figure I want to continue healthy eating and concealer can work some wonders when necessary.

Thursday, September 17, 2009, 7:41 PM

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skin breakout

same here, except i played tennis weekly and worked out but recently i started the stair master and it really made me sweat. i usually do not sweat but the lymph nodes by my clavicle also swelled chest is red and itchy bad. i am getting my results back from a bllod test,urine test and a chest exray and will be seeing the uralogist monday. i should know more next week. The swollen lymph nodes were not good so i will post the results

Friday, April 09, 2010, 11:26 PM

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red itchy rash

Same way for me especially when Im lifting weights and getting over heated with any activity I would love to know what causes this because it itches like crazy any help besides drinking water???

Tuesday, May 04, 2010, 10:52 PM

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I really know where you are coming from here.. used to have same time to workout is right after wakening... after the night of your body munching down on calories and stuff as you sleep... soo if possible do your routine in the morning, then after cool down take a shower.... exfoliate said breakout areas with loofah/whatever you like...then use an acne cleanser on it find one good for your skin should help over time

Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 3:29 PM

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I have ezcema and when I go to the gym I just want to scratch myself to pieces. When I get hot, my skin is unbearably itchy. Have you tried antihistamine cream? Also, wear cotton clothes, keep your skin moisturised and drink plenty of water. I get these red bumps too - that can be a sign of ezcema. It is so frustrating. I have heard Evening Primrose Oil capsules are really good for the skin and also drinking tomato juice is supposed to relieve itchiness.

Thursday, May 06, 2010, 1:20 PM

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same here

im 16 and i have the same problem. the smallest workout like 10 pushups will cause my forearms to break out with small spots, then bumps. the farthest theyve gone was across my chest after an hour of working out in a gym. i dont drink much water and if it does something then i will post something asap.

Friday, December 31, 2010, 5:55 AM

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sounds like you might have exercise-induced urticaria. here's a link if you wanna check it out:

hope this helps!

Monday, May 02, 2011, 8:28 PM

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sounds like you have miliaria crystallina. here's a link if you wanna check it out:

Monday, May 02, 2011, 8:33 PM

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I feel cooling your skin is a number one priority to prevent heat bumps from raging further. Pack some ice cubes into a sealed plastic bag and wrap it in a dishcloth. Apply to the affected areas for five to ten minutes at a time. Repeat every four to six hours.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011, 6:08 AM

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sweat hives

i have a ten year old son that gets sweat hives ,hot days soccer, football or just playing , he breaks out, school is another problem , when he gets home from sports he take a bath in cool water and two cups of apple cider vinegar the hives go away in a hour or two. i hope he grows out of them

Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 9:58 AM

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