Symptoms: Mild to severe redness, flushing, visible blood vessels, papules, pustules, eye irritation, dry facial skin, facial burning or stinging, and an enlarged nose. Symptoms usually appear on the face but can show up on the neck, chest, scalp or ears.
Triggers: Heavy exercise and exposure to sun, wind, heat or cold. May also include emotional stress, alcohol, spicy or hot foods, heated beverages, and certain skincare products.
Treatment options: Prescription topical and oral medications.
Other ways to overcome: Identify your triggers, then take steps while exercising to ward off flare-ups. For instance, wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and protective clothing, avoid becoming overheated, and protect your skin from cold with a scarf or ski mask.
Symptoms: Acnelike rash that can be red, pustular and painful.
Triggers: Exercising while wearing occlusive (pore-blocking) protective gear like helmets and padding. It’s commonly seen around the chin, forehead and any skin that presses against padding. Wicking material may also trigger the rash in some people.
Treatment options: Mild acne prescription medications and topical antibiotic lotions.
Other ways to overcome: Place a cotton (or other soft, breathable fabric) lining against the skin where helmets or padding rub. Avoid wicking material if it bothers you.
Symptoms: Inflamed, painful, tunneling cysts that can ooze; usually found under the arms, on the scalp, or in creases of groin, breasts or legs.
Triggers: The causes of this condition, which can emerge any time after adolescence, are still unknown. Friction and heat can exacerbate the cysts — and stress, smoking, and dietary or topical irritants seem to make the condition worse in many people.
Treatment options: Oral medications, both antibiotic and anti-inflammatories, and other oral retinoid-based products. Recent clinical studies of treatments featuring turmeric and zinc gluconate nutritional supplements show promise.
Other ways to overcome: Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing to avoid irritating the skin. You may wish to cover open cysts while exercising, both to absorb any drainage and reduce discomfort and irritation caused by chafing.
Symptoms: Itching, stinging and burning between the toes or on the soles of the feet; itchy blisters; cracking and peeling skin, especially around the bottoms or sides of feet; nails that are thick, discolored or pulling away from the nail bed.
Triggers: This fungal infection thrives in warm, moist environments like shoes, showers, gyms and locker rooms.
Treatment options: For mild conditions, over-the-counter or prescription antifungal ointments, lotions, powders and sprays are available. If the infection is severe, your doctor may prescribe oral medication or a stronger topical antifungal cream.
Other ways to overcome: Keep feet dry and use antifungal powder daily. Wear clean socks made of synthetic fiber to draw moisture away from feet. Then protect your feet in public places, wearing waterproof shoes in showers and using your own mat in yoga and Pilates classes. Also, alternate workout shoes to allow them to dry.