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How to get rid of Sweat Pimples? Guide for Athletes

In the realm of sports and rigorous physical activities, sweating is a constant companion. While sweating is often a sign of an intense workout, some unwanted side effects, such as sweat-induced pimples or heat rashes, unfortunately, accompany it.

These pesky invaders can be uncomfortable and affect both self-confidence and skin health.

Luckily, with the right skin care strategies before, during, and after your workout, you can effectively prevent and treat these pimples.

We share with you a series of proven techniques and expert recommendations to keep your skin blemish-free, even during the most grueling workouts.

Get ready to say goodbye to sweat pimples and welcome the skin clean, fresh, and healthy.

Understanding the cause and appearance of sweat pimples

Sweat pimples arise when sweat ducts or sweat glands become clogged and trap sweat under the skin. This environment becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to inflammation, heat rash, or the appearance of the red bumps characteristic of this condition. These bumps are often itchy or painful and, if not properly treated, can become inflamed or infected.

It should be noted, that sweat-induced acne breakouts are more likely to appear when combined with friction from headbands, hats, tight clothes, or backpack straps, known as acne mechanica.

Sweat pimples look like small red bumps, sometimes with a rash, similar to normal acne, but are caused specifically by excessive sweating and friction. They are most common in areas covered by sweaty clothing that is tightly against the skin, creating an ideal environment for acne-causing bacteria to grow.

How to prevent and treat sweat pimples?

Some of the most effective general strategies to prevent and treat sweat pimples or mild heat rash before, during, and after training include the following:

  • Proper clothing and general hygiene

To prevent and treat sweat pimples, it is essential to choose the right clothing and maintain rigorous hygiene. Moisture-wicking fabrics, such as cotton, are ideal, as they keep the skin dry and minimize bacterial buildup. Opting for loose-fitting clothing can also reduce the friction that causes these pimples.

Maintaining a clean environment is essential; this includes using a clean towel and ensuring that sports equipment that comes into contact with the skin is disinfected.

  • Skincare products 

Choosing the right skin care products is essential to prevent sweat pimples, especially for those who lead an active lifestyle.

Non-comedogenic products are the most recommended because they are formulated not to clog pores, which is essential for maintaining healthy skin.

In addition, it is important to include products that help remove dead skin cells, such as a gentle exfoliator or cleanser, containing ingredients that promote cell renewal and prevent the buildup of bacteria that can lead to breakouts.

Furthermore, it is necessary to protect the skin from UV rays and keep the skin moisturized with oil-free dermatological products.

This combination of products and proper care protects the skin during intense exercise sessions and ensures that it remains healthy, nourished, and free of breakouts, allowing athletes to concentrate on their performance without additional concerns about skin problems.

For more information on the benefits of showering after a workout, read our blog post Showering After Workout, and learn how this simple step is fundamental for your skin.

Before training

  1. Start by washing your face twice a day, morning and night, using a mild soap to remove excess oil that accumulates during sleep, a face wash for athletes has been specifically designed for skin that is constantly exposed to sweat.

Its formula is gentle on the skin but effective against buildup. This helps cleanse your face and reduces the possibility of clogged pores during training.

  1. Identify what type of skin you have, it can be oily, dry, or a combination. This can help you choose the right treatment before training. Use a mild cleanser before exercising to remove excess oil and bacteria.

Apply a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer to hydrate the skin. Use a salicylic acid-based cleanser to unclog pores.

  1. Avoid heavy makeup before exercise because it can mix with sweat and clog pores. Instead, pick a light, oil-free foundation. However, it's best to skip makeup altogether. Use a mild cleanser or wipe to remove makeup, dirt, oil, grease, and bacteria before you start training.

  1. Reduce sun exposure during peak hours. Use an oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before going outdoors.

  1. Sunscreen should replace the need for moisturizer. Use it every 3 to 4 hours for best results and to prevent skin aging and skin cancer.

  1. Choose light, sweat-resistant formulas. Wear a hat and breathable clothing to protect the skin. After training, cleanse with a mild cleanser with salicylic acid to avoid clogged pores.

If you are going to exercise, you should keep your skin free of creams that clog pores by mixing with sweat.

During training

  1. It is essential to shower immediately after training to remove sweat, dirt, and bacteria from the skin. It is advisable to place a clean towel on exercise equipment before using it to reduce contact with shared surfaces that may contain bacteria. It is also important to clean the equipment so that others can exercise in an environment free of sweat and bacteria.

  1. Avoid touching your face with your hands during your workout, as they may contain bacteria that can worsen sweat acne. Use an absorbent bandage or handkerchief to prevent sweat from dripping on your face, especially if you tend to have breakouts on your forehead.

  1. Regularly wipe away excessive perspiration with a clean towel or tissue to prevent it from accumulating on the skin. This helps minimize the chance of sweat mixing with bacteria and clogging pores. Cotton is the best material for absorbing sweat and preventing skin irritation.

  1. Wipe off sweat regularly using a tissue or clean towel to prevent it from accumulating on the skin. This reduces the likelihood of sweat mixing with bacteria and blocking pores.

  1. Staying hydrated by drinking water during your workout helps keep your skin healthy and flushes out toxins. Always carry a bottle of water with you to facilitate hydration.

After your workout

  1. Start by always showering after training to remove sweat, dirt, and bacteria from your skin.

  1. After cleansing, if it's daytime, use sunscreen every 3 to 4 hours, and you won't need to use moisturizer.

If you like to exercise in the evening, you don't need sunscreen. The use of a moisturizer depends on your skin type: oily skin — avoid any other product, sensitive skin — you may need a non-comedogenic moisturizer to maintain skin hydration without contributing to clogged pores.

  1. It is important to remove wet workout clothes as soon as possible to avoid prolonged contact with sweat, which can contribute to pimples. If you can't shower immediately, at least put on clean, dry clothes.

Specific treatments for sweat pimples

For athletes who have oily skin prone to acne or suffer from persistent or severe sweat pimples, direct treatments are necessary. Topical treatments containing salicylic acid help unclog pores and also reduce inflammation.

For more intense cases, a dermatologist may prescribe stronger acne treatment options, such as benzoyl peroxide, which can be effective in preventing acne breakouts caused by sweating.

Popping sweat pimples is not advisable, as this can lead to further infection and even scarring. Instead, treatments should focus on reducing inflammation and clearing clogged pores using gentle, non-invasive methods.

Lifestyle factors influencing sweat pimples 

For athletes, in addition to intense physical training, daily habits also have a significant influence on skin health.

The appearance of sweat pimples can be exacerbated by various lifestyle factors, for example:

  • Diet and hydration

Diet plays an important role in skin health. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals can boost the body's natural defenses against bacteria and inflammation.

Athletes should avoid sugary and high-glycemic foods, as they can trigger acne outbreaks. Instead, focusing on a balanced diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can help keep skin healthy and reduce the appearance of sweat pimples.

Staying hydrated is essential for overall health and helps maintain the skin's elasticity and moisture balance. Drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day is especially important for athletes, who lose large amounts of fluids through sweating.

Proper hydration can help control oil production by the sebaceous glands, reducing the risk of clogged pores and acne breakouts.

  • Stress management

High stress can trigger and aggravate acne and sweat pimples due to the production of hormones such as cortisol, which can increase oil production in the skin.

Relaxation techniques and adequate rest are essential to keep stress levels under control.

  • Sleep

Adequate rest is vital for skin regeneration. During sleep, the skin goes through repair and regeneration processes, which is crucial for preventing dermatological problems, including sweat pimples.

Therefore, adjusting these aspects of lifestyle will not only benefit athletic performance but will also help to maintain clear and healthy skin, reducing the incidence of sweat acne.

Adjusting your skincare routine

It is essential to adapt the skincare routine according to physical activity levels and environmental factors. For example, during periods of intense training, increasing the frequency of washing with a mild cleanser with salicylic acid can help control excess sebum and effectively remove dead skin cells.

After cleansing, applying a non-comedogenic moisturizer helps keep skin hydrated without contributing to oil buildup.

For athletes prone to mechanical acne, which results from friction and pressure against the skin, ensuring that clothing and sports equipment do not rub hard, skin can prevent irritation and the formation of sweat pimples.

Pads and pads can be used to protect the areas most prone to breakouts.


Sweat pimples can be a frustrating problem for athletes, but with the right approach, they can be effectively treated and prevented. By following a skincare routine tailored to their needs, wearing appropriate clothing, and managing diet and stress, athletes can maintain healthy skin.

Remember that the key to preventing sweat pimples, acne, and heat rash is a combination of proper hygiene, effective skin care products, and regular medical advice if needed.

If you have persistent skin issues, remember that early intervention and personalized treatments are crucial. Don't hesitate to consult a dermatologist to explore more specific treatment options that can alleviate and improve skin health over time.