Equipment Health Tips

Skin irritations when running: Guide to healthy running

Running is a fantastic way to harmonize the body and mind, improve fitness, and promote long-term health. However, as with any sport, specific challenges can arise during running, including skin irritations, well-known to many runners. This article examines the phenomenon: what are skin irritations, why do they occur, where do they manifest, who is particularly susceptible, and how to avoid them.

What are skin irritations?

Skin irritations, also known medically as intertrigo, are a well-known issue among many sports enthusiasts. Caused by friction between skin surfaces or between skin and clothing, especially when sweat and moisture come into play, these irritations can lead to redness, burning, and in some cases, even blisters or open wounds. It is one of the most common complaints among runners and other active sportspeople. Often, improperly fitted running clothing is the cause of these unpleasant side effects.

Why do the irritations occur?

The main cause of skin irritations is repeated friction caused by movement, especially when moisture is involved. During running, the body produces sweat which softens the skin and makes it more susceptible to mechanical stress. Clothing that doesn’t fit properly or is made from materials that don’t effectively wick away moisture increases this risk. Therefore, it is extremely important to pay attention to the choice of running clothing, selecting materials that effectively wick moisture away from the skin to prevent skin irritations.

Where do the complaints occur?

Skin irritations primarily occur in areas of the body where skin rubs against skin or fabric. Typical areas include under the armpits, between the thighs, on the feet, in the chest area, and along the waist or under the sports bra. In general, any area where there is friction can be prone to such irritations.

Who is susceptible?

In principle, anyone can develop skin irritations, but people who run frequently and intensively, especially in warm weather or high humidity, are particularly susceptible. People with sensitive skin or specific skin conditions may also be more susceptible. Even beginners in running, who are not yet familiar with the equipment and the reactions of their bodies to longer runs, often experience this effect.

How to avoid skin irritations?

The good news is that there are effective strategies to prevent irritated skin. Here are some tips:

  • Clothing: Choose breathable, moisture-wicking clothing that fits snugly but doesn’t chafe. Specific running clothing is often designed to minimize friction.
  • Barrier creams and powders: Products that form a protective barrier on the skin can reduce friction. Antiperspirant can also help reduce moisture and thus friction.
  • Quick shower after running: Keep the skin dry and clean to avoid irritation. A quick shower immediately after running can help soothe the skin.
  • Gradual increase: Gradually increase the distance and intensity of your runs to give your skin time to adapt to the stress.
  • Observation: Pay attention to signs of skin irritation and act promptly to prevent it from worsening.

In addition to choosing the right clothing and observing hygiene practices, applying creams or gels to friction-prone areas preventatively can be helpful. Investing in high-quality running gear and paying attention to the signals of your own body are essential steps to minimize skin irritations caused by running and maximize comfort during the run.


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