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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sporting a Breakout? Don't Sweat It!

Photo by Anne Rossley, some rights reserved

At Advanced Dermatology, we often get questions about a variety of acne problems. At the beginning of the school year, it never fails that a few athletes come in for breakouts they attribute to their strenuous activities. This blog post will answer some of the common questions, and possibly help athletes prevent, treat and avoid these breakouts.

Don’t see your question answered here? Leave it in the comments, and I’ll respond!

What causes body acne?

First, let’s clear one thing up – acne is acne. Whether it’s on your body or your face, it’s all caused by the same factors. Acne is a result of clogged pores, which often present themselves in the teenage years as a result of over-productive hormones that make the skin very oily.

Why does playing sports seem to contribute to breakouts?

Teenagers, who are often already at risk for breakouts as a result of their hormone changes, often find that their acne gets worse during the school year when they are playing sports and being very active.

With pores already being clogged by oily skin or hormones, the extra sweat doesn’t help. Breakouts can also be exacerbated by the harsh rubbing or friction often caused by equipment like chin straps or pads.  

For athletes such as dancers or cheerleaders, “performance makeup” can also be a contributing factor. In these situations, the athlete wears heavier makeup than usual or uses a different product provided to him or her. In these cases, the athlete’s skin could be experiencing a reaction to the product.

How do I treat, avoid or prevent these breakouts?

There are several over-the-counter face and body washes that can treat and help prevent breakouts, including those associated with playing sports. Any wash containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or a combination of the two is a good place to start.

Athletes with serious acne problems should wash their face and other affected areas both before and immediately after their activities. They may also consider wearing a clean T-shirt underneath sports equipment that can help absorb some of the sweat and keep it from clogging pores.

For athletes using makeup for performances, consider an oil-free product that will not contribute to clogging pores.

What if I already use acne washes, but still break out?

Unfortunately, some people are predisposed to breakouts because of genetics or other factors. While the washes can certainly help treat and prevent breakouts, they may not be a cure-all. Sometimes, antibiotics are necessary.

If you find that over-the-counter products just aren’t cutting it, call to schedule an appointment at Advanced Dermatology. We can assess your specific situation and recommend antibiotics or other prescription solutions to treat sports-related acne. 

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