Controlling Acne During Sports Season

Treating Acne During Football, Soccer, Baseball, Softball and Basketball Season

It's so fun to get out and participate in a sport you love -- no matter if you play competitively or just for fun.

But do you notice your skin looks worse during sports season?  It's probably not your imagination.  A lot of people find their acne flares up during their sports season. 

The mix of sweat, gear, and helmets along with skin that is already looking for a reason to break out and you've got the perfect recipe for acne.  With a bit more care, though, you can get those breakouts under control.  

1
Shower ASAP.

Sports-and-Acne-Thinkstock-Getty-Images.jpg
Photo: Thinkstock Images / Getty Images

After games and practice, get into the shower as soon as possible.  You want to wash away all the sweat and dirt from your skin.  Although these things don't on their own cause acne, they can make existing acne worse.

A facial cleanser or body wash (if you're prone to body breakouts) that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide is perfect.  You can get these at your local drug store or big box store like Walmart or Target.

2
Or get some cleansing cloths.

If it's just not possible to shower immediately, those premoistened facial cleansing cloths are a good alternative.  You don't need soap, water, or a sink to use them.  Pull them straight from the package and you're ready to wipe away sweat and dirt from your face and neck.

Facial cleansing cloths themselves are a bit small for wiping down larger areas like the chest and back, but if you use a couple you can get the job done.  There are, however, larger wipes meant specifically for cleansing the body sans soap and water. You may be hard-pressed to find them locally, though, so it's best to order these online.

Both types of cleansing cloths come in small, thin packages that are easy to stick into your athletic bag.

Another option, especially if your skin is super oily, are medicated astringent pads like Oxy or Clearasil.  Again, the small size of these pads make them a bit impractical for using on the body, but if your breakouts tend to be concentrated on the face these might work for you.

Either way, these products aren't a perfect substitute for a shower.  But until you have the opportunity to soap up, premoistened wipes are a good option.

3
Clean your gear.

This is more for you football players and wrestlers out there, but it applies to any athlete who uses helmets, pads, hats, etc. 

To be clear, dirt doesn't cause acne.  But the sweat, grime, and pressure from your gear against your skin can be enough to trigger a breakout. 

While you can't stop wearing your helmet, pads, and such, you can at least make sure those items are as clean as possible.  Wipe down any piece of equipment that comes in contact with your skin, every time after they're worn.  

For things like chinstraps and the inside of helmets, you may want to use alcohol pads each time to get them extra super clean.

4
Use your regular acne treatments every day, no exceptions.

Probably the most important thing you can do to keep your skin as clear as possible -- use your acne treatments every single day without fail. 

This can actually be harder than it sounds.  Life gets busy, especially during sports season when you're super busy with practices and games in addition to your regular school, work, and family commitments.  You may be so tired at night you'd rather just fall into bed! 

But consistency is key in getting acne under control, so it's super important that you not skip your treatments, whatever they may be.

5
Get help from your dermatologist.

If your acne gets considerably worse during your sports season, and you can't keep it under control, the best thing you can do is see a dermatologist.  Your derm can prescribe products that are stronger than you can buy over the counter, and can give you plenty of good skin care advice.

Already under a doctor's care?  Tell them that you're regular treatment routine isn't working during sports season.  You may need an additional treatment during this time, or your dermatologist can give you some tips to help get your skin through this period.

Next Steps:

Treating Back and Body Acne

Is It Time to See a Dermatologist?

Acne Treatment Tips for Teen Boys

Acne Treatment Tips for Teen Girls

Continue Reading