Sweat doesn’t cause acne but that doesn’t mean it cannot cause a breakout! While your dermatologist may not call folliculitis a zit, the little red bumps you get look almost exactly like acne. So what is folliculitis and what can you do to stop it?

What Is Folliculitis?

Your hairs grow out of small holes in your skin called follicles. If bacteria infect the follicle it can swell up into a red bump. More commonly, your follicles can become blocked or damaged, causing them to mistakenly swell up and mark your skin.

What Causes Folliculitis?

Bacteria, yeast, or fungus can cause folliculitis. If it persists for a while and you have tried the easier to fix causes, you should see a doctor and have him or her take a sample to find out the exact cause.

Any sort of irritation, or blockage of the hair follicle can also cause folliculitis. Wearing clothes that are too tight can rub your follicles the wrong way, causing this condition. Sweat, oil and makeup, can all block the entrance to the follicle, clogging it and causing it to become irritated. These factors can exacerbate each other. Furthermore, your skin might be normally fine with your makeup, but when it combines with sweat and runs down your face straight into your follicles, it might be less happy.

What Can I Do About This?

First, consider working out in the morning with no make-up. Sweat can still clog your pores and irritate your follicles, but it’s significantly less irritating to your skin when it’s just sweat.

Second, wash your face right after you work out- before you even drive home! You are probably going to hit the shower pretty soon after, however as soon as the sweat dries on to your skin you are almost guaranteed to have a breakout. If you make it a point to cleanse your face, you will increase the odds that you will keep your pores from getting blocked. We recommend to all clients that they carry a travel kit in their gym bag it should include: A gentle cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunblock.

Third, keep an on-the-go kit in your car or purse. Fragrance free baby wipes can clean your face off in a pinch. Be sure to include toner and moisturizer in your kit, too, as you want to keep your skin healthy and moist as well as clean. We recommend the Kirkland (Costco) fragrance free baby wipers, as they are free of pore clogging ingredients.

Defeating Folliculitis

Cleansing your skin after each workout might seem like a bit of a chore, but it’s a surefire way to eliminate one of the main causes of folliculitis breakouts. With just a little effort, you can ensure that you will have clear and healthy skin, no matter how much you sweat.

Written by Leah LaVanway