Welcome to the swimming and physical activity section!
Getting sweaty can sometimes make eczema flare up or make it worse, but you don’t need to let that stop you. Swimming and exercise are great for your health but for people with eczema it might need extra planning.
This section will look at:
- Tips on how to take part in exercise and activities
- What do I need to do when going swimming?
No exercise or sport is out of bounds. Having eczema doesn’t have to get in the way of your life and stop you from taking part in activities that you enjoy.
Tips for how to take part in sports and physical activity
- Shower right away or as soon as you can after an activity – this helps wash off sweat that can make eczema worse.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Wear soft, smooth, and breathable fabrics, like cotton. This is kinder to your skin than gym clothes, like lycra, that might make your skin too hot.
- If you usually use thicker moisturising creams, try using a lighter one before activities. Lighter moisturising creams take less time to dry and you can still use your other creams in your usual daily routine.
- Some sports or activities involve dust or things that might make eczema worse. For example, coming into contact with pollen and grass when playing in a field or animal fur when horse riding. It can be helpful to use a light moisturising cream before these sports or activities.
I have broken skin- what should I do?
Broken skin can be painful when it comes into contact with sweat. One way to deal with this is to repair the broken skin using flare control creams. You can find more information on flare control creams in the ‘ flare control creams ’ section. You can get to this section from the menu above.
Sometimes when I get home late I forget to put on my creams and I notice that my eczema is worse the next day. So before I go out I put them near my bed so I don't forget them when I get in.
What do I need to do when going out or going dancing?
If you are going to crowded places or going dancing, it can be helpful to put on a light moisturising cream beforehand to protect your skin from sweat. It’s also good to shower afterwards to stop your skin getting too hot and wash any sweat off. It might also help to wear layers of thin breathable clothing.
What do I need to do when going swimming?
Many people with eczema enjoy swimming but it can dry out the skin. One way of dealing with this is by putting on moisturising creams before swimming and after swimming.
You don’t need to put on a thick layer of moisturising cream, just enough to protect the skin. After swimming, it can be helpful to shower straight away, pat skin dry gently, and put moisturising cream on before getting dressed. Don’t wait to get home to put your moisturising cream on as your skin will have dried out by then. Try out what works best for you.
Freshwater and saltwater can also make broken skin sting. If you have broken skin, it is important to use flare control creams to keep your skin in good shape for swimming.
Is chlorine bad for my skin?
Some swimming pools have more chlorine than others. For example, you might have a flare-up after swimming in a pool on holiday but be fine in other pools.
If you have a bad flare-up after swimming it may help waiting until your skin is better before trying again.
Is swimming in the sea ok?
Swmming in the sea should be fine as long as you put on moisturising creams before and rinse the salt water off afterwards.
Some people even find that salt water helps their eczema. Seawater may still irritate or sting your skin. This may be worse if the skin is broken or cracked.
You can also check out our ‘ weather and holidays ’ section for information about keeping safe in the sun and choosing sunscreen. You can get to this section from the ‘ what can make eczema worse ’ menu above.