Keeping Eczema Quiet on a Regular Workout Schedule

Key Points

  • The benefits of regular exercise on systemic health are well documented.

  • Exercise is also a potent stress reliever, which is good for eczema sufferers.

  • However, exercise can also irritate eczema-prone skin.

  • Because not exercising to avoid irritation and flare-ups isn't a good option, it's important to deploy effective strategies for managing eczema as part of your workout routine.

  • This article explores maintaining a regular workout routine while also effectively managing eczema.

Living with eczema can sometimes make you feel like you're stuck in a continuous cycle of danged if you do, danged if you don't. The benefits of regular physical activity on overall systemic health are well documented. For one, exercise helps reduce stress, which in itself can trigger eczema.

For many eczema sufferers, though, exercising acts as an irritant and sometimes a trigger. The impact of physical activity on eczema varies from individual to individual, depending on eczema severity, personal triggers, and other unique factors.

This article explores staying active while living with eczema. From choosing eczema-friendly exercise types to implementing skincare routines and protective measures, the goal is to allow you to reap the advantages of exercise without exacerbating eczema.

Health Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is, overall, advantageous for almost everyone, including eczema sufferers. As mentioned, for example, exercise is well-known for its potent capacity to reduce stress, and stress is a known trigger of eczema flare-ups. This gives regular physical activity the potential to reduce flare-up frequency and severity.

Eczema also disrupts sleep due to itching and discomfort. Exercise, on the other hand, contributes to better sleep quality, making the time spent asleep deeper and more productive. Good sleep is essential for skin healing and overall health.

Quality sleep supports the body's immune system, too, which helps the body ward off illness. A strong immune system is crucial for individuals with eczema, as the condition can leave the skin more susceptible to infections.

Additionally, whereas eczema can take a toll on mental health, exercise releases endorphins. These stress-relieving hormones improve mood and boost your overall sense of well-being.

Finally, maintaining a healthy weight is important for eczema management, too. Excess weight can exacerbate symptoms. Regular exercise, of course, aids in weight control.

Exercise Types and Eczema

The key to exercising with eczema is selecting activities that are gentle on the skin and less likely to trigger irritation or flare-ups. For example, while swimming in chlorinated pools cleanses the skin, chlorine is also an irritant if you fail to rinse it off after swimming. As such, rinse off and apply moisturizer immediately after swimming to avoid chlorine's irritating, drying effects.

As an additional measure for protecting eczema-prone skin while swimming, Harvard Health writer and pediatrician Dr. Claire McCarthy recommends applying an emollient before getting in the water: "Put on an emollient before swimming, especially in a chlorinated pool. A good grease-up before swimming can protect the skin."

Yoga is another low-impact activity that promotes flexibility and relaxation. Choose classes with gentle, soothing sequences to minimize the risk of skin irritation. Similar to yoga, Pilates focuses on controlled movements and adapts to suit various fitness levels and skin sensitivities.

Brisk walking is also highly beneficial to overall health while remaining easy on the skin. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics to reduce sweat-related irritation.

Biking and cycling offer additional low-impact options that allow you to control the intensity of your workout. Ensure your bike seat and clothing are comfortable and non-irritating.

Eczema sufferers should also consider tai chi, which combines gentle movements and deep breathing. Tai chi's smooth, deliberate movements and focus on the breath make it a suitable choice for individuals with eczema seeking stress reduction and improved flexibility.

No matter what physical activity you participate in as an eczema sufferer, remember that, in many sufferers, tight clothing irritates the condition.

Precautions and Protective Measures

To enjoy the benefits of exercise while safeguarding your skin, you should keep a number of precautions and protective measures in mind. For example, choosing eczema-friendly clothing is important. Opt for moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics that reduce friction and irritation. Avoid scratchy or tight clothing that may aggravate your skin.

Be sure to make proper hydration a priority during every workout. This is essential to maintaining skin health, so drink plenty of water before, during, and after each workout session to help prevent dryness and irritation.

You should also consider applying a moisturizer before exercising to create a protective barrier on your skin. Choose fragrance-free, hypoallergenic options.

Additionally, while sweat is a natural part of exercise, excessive sweating can irritate skin, so plan workouts in a way that minimizes and reduces sweating. Using a hand towel to wipe off sweat during your workout is a simple, effective method to keep sweating under control.

Some exercises also cause more sweating than others. Aerobic exercise tends to be more sweat-inducing in many individuals. Of course, the temperature and humidity level where you do your workout also impacts the amount of sweating. After working out, take time to cool down and allow your body temperature to normalize. This can help prevent excessive sweating and irritation.

If you're exercising outdoors, wear sunscreen and protective clothing to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.

After finishing a workout, rinse off sweat. Apply moisturizer within three minutes of bathing to lock in moisture.

Post-Exercise Eczema Skincare

After your workout, it's crucial to follow a skincare routine that promotes skin healing and comfort. This routine should start with gentle cleansing with a mild, fragrance-free cleanser. This removes sweat and impurities from your skin, helping prevent irritation.

After cleansing, apply a generous amount of your chosen moisturizer while your skin is still damp. This helps lock in hydration. If your dermatologist has prescribed topical medications, apply them as directed after moisturizing.

If your skin feels hot or irritated, consider using a cool, damp cloth as a compress to soothe the affected areas.

Listen to Your Body's Eczema Cues

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of exercising with eczema is listening to your body and being attentive to any signals it may provide. If you notice increased itching, redness, or discomfort during or after exercise, it's essential to address these symptoms promptly.

For example, if your skin is particularly sensitive, consider reducing the intensity or duration of your workout. Gentle exercises like walking or stretching may be better tolerated. You should also identify specific triggers that worsen your eczema. Such triggers include certain fabrics or environmental factors. Learn those triggers, and then take steps to avoid them.

If your eczema symptoms persist or worsen despite precautions, consult a dermatologist. They can provide personalized recommendations and may adjust your treatment plan.

Product Recommendations

The following product recommendations help you effectively manage eczema before, during, and after exercise.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream hydrates and nourishes the skin, which is essential for eczema management. The fragrance-free, non-comedogenic formula is gentle and suitable for sensitive skin, making it an excellent pre-exercise moisturizer to create a protective barrier.

Post-workout, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream delivers the necessary hydration to soothe and replenish skin, effectively preventing post-exercise irritation and dryness. Its non-greasy, fast-absorbing texture makes it a versatile, reliable companion for eczema sufferers seeking to maintain skin health while staying active.

In September 2023, The Strategist named CeraVe Moisturizing Cream one of The 14 Very Best Treatments for Eczema. The article notes: "Because this cream contains ceramides, it will provide your dry, itchy skin the protection it needs to stay hydrated. Thanks to the hyaluronic acid and glycerin, too, it’ll be exceptionally hydrating, keeping your skin soothed for longer stretches of time."

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion is fragrance-free and delivers long-lasting hydration to soothe dry, sensitive skin. The non-greasy formula ensures this lotion won't interfere with your exercise routine or leave your skin feeling heavy.

Pre-workout, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion creates a protective barrier on skin against potential irritants. Post-work, this lotion replenishes moisture, preventing dryness and discomfort. The gentle, hypoallergenic composition makes it suitable for daily use.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Sunscreen SPF 30

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Sunscreen SPF 30 is an excellent choice for anyone who prefers exercising in the great outdoors. Eczema-prone skin is more sensitive to UV rays, so incorporating sun protection is crucial. This sunscreen delivers essential sun protection without clogging pores or causing skin irritation. The lightweight, water-gel formula absorbs quickly, making it suitable for use before and during outdoor workouts.

Neutrogena's sunscreen not only shields your skin from harmful UV radiation but also delivers deep hydration thanks to the hyaluronic acid-infused formula. This versatile product helps you maintain healthy skin while pursuing an active lifestyle.

Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream

Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream delivers intense moisturization, making it ideal for post-exercise skincare. It soothes dry, irritated skin, providing relief after a sweaty workout. The fragrance-free, non-comedogenic formula ensures this product won't cause further skin irritation or clog pores, making it suitable for sensitive skin.

Eucerin's Advanced Repair Cream effectively replenishes moisture, leaving skin feeling soft and comfortable. It's a reliable option to include in your skincare routine to ensure your skin remains hydrated and protected as you maintain an active lifestyle while managing eczema.

Vanicream Cleansing Bar

Vanicream Cleansing Bar is a mild, fragrance-free cleansing choice specifically designed for sensitive and eczema-prone skin. It effectively cleanses without over-drying or causing irritation, making it an ideal option post-workout to remove sweat, dirt, and impurities without aggravating your skin.

The gentle, soap-free formula ensures your skin's natural moisture barrier remains intact. Vanicream's Cleansing Bar is a reliable companion for maintaining skin cleanliness and comfort after exercise, ensuring you can stay active while managing eczema without worrying about exacerbating your skin condition.

Make Eczema Care a Workout Priority

Remember that your eczema, just like everything else about you, is unique. What works for other eczema sufferers may or may not work for you. It's critical, then, to know your own skin, your unique symptoms and triggers. It's also important to experiment with different products.

Above all, always talk to your skincare professional before trying any new eczema product or changing your skincare routine. They can help you choose the best products based on your unique skin and medical history. Maintaining a regular workout schedule as an eczema sufferer needn't be an "irritating" proposition as long as you remain mindful, know your skin and triggers, and take the necessary steps to integrate eczema management into your workout routine.

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