How to Prevent Chafing, Bacne, and Blisters When Exercising

The Unwanted Side Effects of Exercise: Chafing, Bacne, and Blisters

Experts are always raving about the benefits of exercise, and rightfully so, since the list is a long one. But no one ever discusses the drawbacks to your skin you have to put up with when working out regularly. I'm talking about chafing, pimples on your back, chest, and face, and blisters on your feet. Of course the benefits of exercise exceed these unwanted skin issues, but it doesn't make them any less annoying. Here are ways to prevent them:

  1. Chafing:

    • Moisture and friction are a deadly combo for us exercisers. If you wear loose clothing made of cotton, the fabric will stay wet and the constant rubbing is sure to irritate your skin and cause chafing in your sensitive areas. To avoid this issue, invest in some fitted exercise clothes that are made of wicking material such as merino wool or a polyester blend.
    • Look for bras, tops, and shorts that are seamless and have no tags.

Keep on reading to learn how to prevent bacne and blisters.

  1. Bacne:

    • Sweat and bacteria clog pores and cause pimples — and not just on your face. Working out can lead to bacne, as well as blemishes on your chest, neck, arms, and tush. Since you can't prevent the sweating while working out (especially in the Summer), the wicking fabrics used to prevent chafing will also help prevent breakouts. They draw moisture away from your skin and allow it to breathe. Be sure the clothes that directly touch your skin are made of breathable, wicking material. When it comes to your face, make sure to remove any makeup before working out, and to wash it once your workout is over.
    • After your workout is complete, get out of those sweaty clothes immediately and hit the showers. Use a gentle body soap or scrub that contains acne-fighting salicylic acid. Don't scrub too vigorously, since that can irritate your skin and lead to more pimples.
    • If your workout routine involves a super sweaty cardio session followed by slightly sweaty strength training and then not-sweaty-at-all stretching, change into a dry bra and top between activities. I know that means a lot of moolah spent on clothes, not to mention more time in the laundry room, but it'll make a huge difference to your skin.
  2. Blisters:
    • With every new season, I like to buy a new pair of sneakers. To avoid blisters, find a shoe that works for your foot, and buy the same brand and even the same model when you need a new pair. Make sure your sneaks aren't too loose, as the constant shifting of your foot inside the shoe will inevitably lead to blisters.
    • Since working out in new kicks almost always leads to hot spots and blisters, when breaking in new sneaks, do it slowly. Alternate workouts between your old and new pair for a week or two, and once you switch over completely to the new ones, start off with shorter workouts, and gradually build up. This will help avoid irritation on your feet.
    • New sneaks aren't the only culprit when it comes to blisters. Moisture is another issue here, and when the skin on your feet gets sweaty, it rubs more easily on the inside of your shoe. To prevent this issue, wicking socks are a must to pull moisture away from your skin.
    • Aside from sweat, outside moisture can also lead to painful blisters. Avoid jumping in puddles or small streams and skip working out in the pouring rain.
Source: Thinkstock
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