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Skin conditions you can get from the gym

woman with a towel around her neck after trining

Table of Contents

Even if it looks like a safe place to do your workouts, you must know there are a few skin conditions that you can get from the gym. So next time you are going for your regular exercise, be more careful about where you sit and how regular you touch your face with your hands. 

In the article below, you will find out all about unwanted skin conditions you can get from the gym and how to treat them. Also, we will give you recommendations on the best way to prevent getting them.

It is crucial to remember that many people sweat on the devices you are using. Moreover, some of the previous users can have all kinds of viruses, bacteria or fungi they can spread and leave behind. So when choosing your gym, don’t think only about the devices they have or home proximity. Make some inquiries and find out how often the staff cleans and disinfects their facilities. 

Is gym good for skin?

Going to the gym is a very beneficial habit for your whole body, including your skin. When you exercise, your blood flow is increased. Therefore cells are kept vital. Blood contains oxygen and numerous nutrients that are being delivered to all parts of your body. Moreover, when skin cells receive more blood, it will also carry out waste products and free radicals.

woman with ponytail after a training

Common skin infections you can get from the gym

When going to the gym, you must know that there are numerous affections you can catch if you are not properly protecting yourself. Here are some of the most common conditions you can get. Learn how to spot and treat them.

  • Ringworm is a fungus that you can most of the time find at the gym. You can easily spot it because it is itchy and creates a red ring on the surface of your skin. It can appear everywhere, but you can usually find it under your arms, torso, or thighs. 

    Even if your gym equipment is designed to absorb sweat, it might cause a ringworm appearance. This fungus prefers a wet environment. So, after each training session, thoroughly wash your equipment because it might be responsible for ringworm infections or even acne.

    The best treatment for ringworm consists in washing the area with water and soap. After washing, dry your skin and apply an antifungal cream or lotion. Most of the time, dermatologists recommend using clotrimazole. The treatment lasts about 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Staph infection is caused by why a bacteria called Staphylococcus. There are low chances of getting this infection from the gym, but if you do, do not even think to ignore it. If you’re infected, you will see bumps on your body. These inflammations have a red color. After you see the first signs, you must treat this problem because it might hurt you later and spread to your whole body. 

    If you are working out on a dirty floor mat or sharing a towel with a person that has staph infection, there are high chances of getting it. There is a type of staph that can be deadly, so make sure you do not ignore this unwanted condition. See a doctor and follow his instructions by the book. You will probably need to get antibiotics and a topical cream as a treatment.
  • Folliculitis is another type of staph infection. As its name says, it attacks the hair follicle. It results in multiple red bumps that create great discomfort. It develops in wet moist places, like your gym equipment. However, if you have cuts or cracked skin, there is a higher risk of getting this staph infection. To get the best treatment, see a dermatologist. It will recommend you typical creams or antibiotics that will help you get rid of this problem. To make sure you don’t get it again, try not to shave before going to the gym. 
  • Plantar Warts are caused by the HPV virus. They can be single bumps or build formations that are gathered in the same place. Most of the time, they appear on your palms and soles. The main cause of getting plantar warts is gym equipment. It develops on wet and moist surfaces, so you have a high chance of getting the virus if you’re walking barefoot in the gym shower or locker room. 

    If you observe these bumps on your body, you should contact a skin care specialist or a dermatologist. They will recommend topical creams that contain salicylic acid. When applying the product, ensure you don’t spread it on the unaffected skin. It might create a burning sensation and harm the healthy area. Another way to treat this infection is to use a freeze spray on the bump to encourage your body to heal and fight the plantar warts.
  • Athlete’s foot is another skin disease that you can get from the gym. However, this infection doesn’t affect only your feet, but also other areas like groin, armpits or under the breast. Most of the time it appears when you have unhealthy habits like wearing the same pair of socks when training. Also, not showering after exercising can be the cause of infection. The treatment is quite easy to follow, and it involves using lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. Antifungal medications like topical creams are among the most common treatments.
side portrait of a woman at the gym

Skin tips for gym goers

These infections are very common for those who go to the gym. You must be very careful with your clothes, washing them after each training session and making sure you’re not walking barefoot anywhere. As long as you follow some simple rules you will not have any problem with the bacteria found in a gym.

If you have cuts on your body or scratches, it is ideal to cover them. This is the best way to avoid contamination. 

Another useful trick when going to the gym is to wear long sleeves and pants. Place a towel on the bench about to sit. Also, make sure there is some material between your skin and the devices you are using at the gym.

Never walk barefoot in a gym or locker room. There are so many bacteria that you can get. When going to the shower, make sure you always have a pair of flip-flops.

Before and after exercising, you must wash your hands. You can also use a hand sanitizer after exercising on any device. Wipes with disinfectant can also come in handy because you can use them to clean handles or gym equipment before and after you use them.

Never use the same outfit twice without washing it. Your gym equipment can be the best place for bacteria to grow and spread. After each training session, replace your equipment or give it a quick wash.

Ask a skin care specialist

Skinglow Clinic is one of the best places to go when you need guidance for your daily skincare routine. Our experts will teach you all you need to know about skin affections that you can get from the gym. If you’re struggling with other skin problems, contact or visit us in London, 216 Kensington Park Rd, Notting Hill.


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