How to Deal with Rashes from Exercise

Woman exercising on the beach How to Deal with Rashes from Exercise

If you power through a spin class only to break out in a rash, your workout high might come crashing down. Exercise-induced rashes can be uncomfortable and unpredictable. However, with the help of a dermatologist, you can find the root cause of your skin rash and start treating it.

How to Identify and Treat Exercise-Induced Rashes

What Are Exercise-Induced Rashes?

Exercise rashes, or exercise-induced urticaria, occurs when exercise causes allergy-like symptoms. Your skin might break out in hives, bumps, or welts, or the skin might flush and turn red. These rashes might be itchy as well.

Some people who experience these types of rashes may notice other symptoms, like stomach pain, difficulty breathing, headaches, and swelling of the hands, tongue, or face. While these symptoms are typically mild, some people might have severe complications like low blood pressure and more severe breathing challenges.

Rash triggers will vary for everyone. Some people may experience rashes from exercise only, while others will notice a rash in moments of stress or after eating spicy foods. Be sure to pay attention to potential triggers if you’re noticing regular rashes.

Be sure to see your doctor if you’re experiencing your rash and allergy symptoms for more than 10 minutes, and always seek medical treatment if your symptoms are severe.

What Causes Rashes During Exercise?

While the exact cause of these rashes isn’t necessarily clear, they’re likely linked to a spike in body temperature or an allergy to sweat. However, there is room for more research on the subject. People with existing allergies may be more likely to develop hives during exercise, and it’s possible to experience a similar reaction in cold temperatures as well.

Keep in mind that all exercise rashes might not be urticaria. Some people may notice an inner thigh rash after exercise due to skin irritation or a sensitivity to the fabric. This is why it’s always important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

What Treatments Are Available?

Treatment for exercise rashes depends on the severity of your reaction. For mild to moderate cases, you’ll need to identify your triggers to avoid a rash while working out. Your doctor can work with you to pinpoint certain types of exercise, foods, and clothing that might be making your rash worse.

If you’re dealing with severe exercise-induced urticaria, your doctor may recommend sticking to low-impact exercise or avoiding excursion altogether. Activities like swimming can be great for staying active without risking a rash.

There may also be steps you can take to soothe a rash once it develops. Your doctor may recommend placing an ice pack on the area or dabbing the skin with cold water. And antihistamine may also be helpful in severe cases.


Your skin’s health is central to your overall health, and the skin experts at Pacific Dermatology Specialists are here to support your well-being. If you’re experiencing skin rashes, our dermatologists are available to product diagnostics and rash treatment to help you find relief. Located in Carson, CA, and other communities around the Greater Los Angeles area, we offer cosmetic, medical, and surgical services with your skin needs in mind. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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