Can Running Give You a Rash?

Friction and sweat are the main causes of running-related rashes.

Friction and sweat are the main causes of running-related rashes.

You've got a good thing going. A good running routine, that is. Every day, you wake up and hit the pavement, cranking your favorite tunes. But if running gives you a rash, you might find yourself distracted. Rashes aren't pleasant and can make you reluctant to put on your running shoes. Plus, if they're left untreated, rashes can cause broken skin that is more susceptible to infection. Ouch! Don't let running rashes stop you in your tracks -- take a few precautions to treat and prevent them.

Chafing and Sweating

If you develop a rash from running, it’s usually due to friction. Friction causes chafing, or skin irritation that develops when two areas of tissue rub against one another or one area of skin rubs against clothing or some other material, according to MedlinePlus. The repetitive motions required for running can cause chafing. Plus, sweating profusely can also lead to the development of rashes in areas that don't breathe well. Talk about yuck!

Areas of Concern

When running, certain areas of the body are more prone to chafing-caused rashes than others. The inner thighs are a particular problem for women as are the areas where bra seams rub the most along the shoulders, beneath the armpits and beneath the breasts, according to Runner’s World. Additionally, the groin area and the feet are susceptible to the development of fungus-caused rashes, thanks to a lack of air circulation.

Ditch Cotton

Chafing from running can be combated by eliminating whatever is causing the friction against your skin. If clothing is the culprit, switch it out. Cotton fabric holds onto sweat, which can irritate your skin and cause more friction, says Runner’s World. Synthetic clothing can help reduce friction and the development of rashes. So if your thighs are trying to start a bonfire every time you hit the trails, throw on a pair of synthetic shorts to ease the burn.

Protect Your Skin

A good way to deal with runner’s rash is to apply petroleum jelly to the affected area. This can prevent further friction from damaging the skin. Talcum powder also works, as do specialty chafing products designed specifically for runners. Putting a bit of powder in your shoes and around the groin area can reduce sweat buildup, as well.

Cover Up

Covering up the affected area is another way to combat rashes and chafing caused by running. According to Runner’s World, simply applying a bandage to the skin can help reduce friction. Use a bandage of an appropriate size to fully cover the area. Once the rash heals, apply a bandage to your problem spots before each run to prevent further chafing and irritation.

 

About the Author

Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.

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