Contrary to popular belief, sweating is actually extremely beneficial to eczema sufferers. It reduces stress levels, flushes toxins through sweat, activates the lymphatic system, all of which are essential to healing eczema.
HOWEVER, sweat makes me itch like crazy!
That is precisely why I decided to talk about it. I will tell you how you can reduce the risk of irritating your skin whilst training, thus avoiding itching and bringing your skin in contact with germs and bacteria.
The reason why it’s so important to not touch our skin whilst sweating is because the pores of your skin are open, and your skin is more exposed, leaving it prone to infections and viruses. Having eczema already predisposes you to an array of skin infections because your skin is dry and damage, and when you itch it you put your yourself at higher risk of getting sick as your skin isn’t acting like the protection barrier that it should.
I will be honest with you, I was the first to commit this mistake and am now paying the price for it. When I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, inevitably, my face, neck, and hands, touch the mats where other people’s sweat and feet have been. So my broken skin was fighting hard to prevent infection. However, what I did was even worse; I would itch during training with my unwashed hands. It would get so bad that I simply couldn’t stop, I wanted to absolutely pull my skin off my face and neck. Fist it prevented my skin from healing, and then it lead to an infection.
Nevertheless, this did not stop me from training, and in order to prevent further problems I put in place two extremely easy to follow strategies that work wonders.
- Wash your face regularly during training with icy cold water. Even if that means leaving the class, excuse yourself and go wash it. This will remove the irritating sweat, and it will cool down the skin reducing blood flow to the surface thus reducing itching. If there are no sinks around, take a little towel with you, put cold water on it and use it to remove the sweat.
- Make sure you are hydrated before you start exercising, and drink lots of water during training. This will dilute your sweat and make it less aggressive on your skin.
I also have a two post workout strategies, which are essential if you do not want to itch after training. When I implemented both of them I saw such an incredible difference that I follow the cold shower protocol every time.
- Shower immediately after training, do not wait to be back home to shower instead of showering at the gym (I know some gyms are gross, and I made the mistake of waiting to get home to shower before).
- Do NOT shower with hot water. If you can shower with cold water. If you cannot take the cold, then shower with cool/lukewarm water and ALWAYS finish with a cold/icy shower.
Furthermore, you should implement your beauty routine whilst your skin is still damp. Putting your hydrating cream or oil will lock in precious moisture in your skin. I recommend incorporating some of my Skin Savers into your skin routine.
The reason I firmly believer in cold showers, regardless of whether you have eczema, are training, or have just woken up, is because they strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, tighten the skin, and improve circulation. Wim Hof is a big proponent of exposing yourself to the cold, and icy water showers have been historically used in Russia to strengthen the immune system.
Personally, cold showers have done wonders to my skin, and dramatically reduced my impulse to itch after washing. I used to shower with warm/hot water, and every time I would have an itching fit afterwards. The moment I switched to the coldest shower temperature, my skin regained its balance.
In addition, taking an icy cold shower first thing in the morning wakes me up and boosts my energy levels. As a bonus, I also feel like a total badass when I shower with icy water.
If you want to know more about how the benefits of cold water and the Wim Hof breathing method helped me heal my eczema, you can check out my eBook.