Skin Care to Keep Athletes in the Game

Dermatologists offers tips to athletes to avoid infection

(RxWiki News) The health benefits of regular exercise are undeniable. And to keep in the game, it’s important for athletes to take good care of their bodies and their skin.

One dermatologist has offered tips on how to avoid skin infections. Use of sports equipment like helmets and pads can create an increased risk of dermatological (skin-related) conditions because the warm, moist and dark environment is perfect for germ growth.

Chief among the pointers is keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered. Wearing moisture-wicking clothing can help keep skin dry and avoid germ development.

This dermatologist also recommended observing locker room protocol by wearing shoes or sandals when showering after every round of activity.

"Consult a doctor if you notice any skin irritation related to athletic activity."

These recommendations come from dermatologist Jeffrey V. Benabio, MD, FAAD, of Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

He reminds athletes to not share personal care items like towels, soap or razors, and regularly wash workout clothes and disinfect equipment.

When trying to prevent blisters — sometimes a source of infection — consider using specialized gloves or socks. For areas prone to blister, apply a pad, gel or spray to reduce friction, Dr. Benabio said.

He also suggested checking skin daily for cuts, sores, redness and swelling, which may further help prevent infection.

“Athletes are at an increased risk of skin infection, which can have serious consequences and may take them — and their teammates — out of the game for days, weeks or months," Dr. Benabio said.

“If athletes notice anything on their skin that itches, burns or may be infected, they should see a board-certified dermatologist or sports medicine doctor,” he said.

“Without treatment, skin infections can worsen and may spread to other teammates,” Dr. Benabio said. “A dermatologist can prescribe effective treatments to help athletes get back in the game.”

Dr. Benabio’s recommendations were published March 11 by the American Academy of Dermatology, an Illinois-based dermatological association with a membership of more than 17,000 physicians around the world.

The tips are demonstrated in "How to Prevent Skin Conditions in Athletes," part of the Dermatology A to Z web-based video series.

Review Date: 
March 13, 2014