Why do I have heat rashes after a workout?

If an individual experiences a break out of rashes during or after workout, it simply means that he/she is suffering from heat rash or prickly heat or cholinergic urticaria which is a form of hives that is triggered by heat. It is important to note of the various causes of this skin condition but they are not usually serious. If you want to be prepared to handle heat rashes, click here.

What are the possible causes?

The heat rash called as miliaria often occurs once the sweat ducts are clogged and perspiration is trapped beneath the skin. This skin condition is quite common among infants whose sweat ducts are not yet fully developed as well as individuals who reside in warm, humid climates.

As for cholinergic urticaria, it develops once the skin is highly sensitive to any circumstances in which the body temperature increases. Aside from exercise, cholinergic urticaria can also be triggered by consuming spicy dishes, stress or anxiety as well as staying in a hot shower.

Connection between heat rashes and exercise

Take note that it is not unusual for an individual to develop either form of heat rash after a workout. The heavy sweating during an intense workout can cause the sweat ducts to become clogged and eventually lead to miliaria. A session involving excessive sweating will also increase the body temperature and can instigate an episode of cholinergic urticaria if the skin of the individual is prone to heat.

Heat rashes

The heavy sweating during an intense workout can cause the sweat ducts to become clogged and eventually lead to miliaria.

What are the symptoms?

Always bear in mind that both conditions can appear as red-colored bumps on the skin that can feel prickly or itchy. The individual can also suffer from either form all over the body during or after a workout or it can manifest in specific regions usually in the arms, chest, face and legs. Heat rash is also common in the skin folds such as the elbows or any part where clothing is likely to produce friction against the skin such as the armpits or groin.


The ideal form of treatment for both forms of heat rash is to keep the skin cool as well as instructing the individual to wear breathable, lightweight fabrics such as cotton. There are also over-the-counter treatments such as calamine lotion that can be applied over the affected areas to help soothe the itchiness.

Important considerations to bear in mind

Just remember that both forms of heat rash are not usually serious and the symptoms will typically go away without requiring specific treatment. On the other hand, even though the symptoms of cholinergic urticaria do not usually last long after being exposed to heat, the skin can stay sensitive to the increase in the temperature for many years.

A doctor should be consulted if the heat rash does not go away after a few days or worsens such as the red bumps that are sore or if they become infected as well as swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck or groin. A doctor must be consulted if the individual feels feverish.


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