Skin itching is a feeling that often occurs in people who run or train hard. There are several causes for this itchy feeling on the skin when exercising.
Itching and allergic symptoms usually appear on the abdomen and legs, although they can appear on all areas of the body.
Usually, the itch is not a cause for concern, and prevention and treatment are simple. Cases involving severe symptoms may require specific treatment.
What causes skin itching after exercise?
There are several causes of skin itching. We will talk through what can happen in your body to cause this itchy feeling.
Increased blood flow
If you have been sedentary or have not trained for a while, going back to the exercise routine can cause itching.
Exercise increases your pulse and blood flow as your heart supplies more blood and oxygen to the targeted muscles and causes the capillaries and arteries to dilate and stimulate the nerve cells, which can lead to an itchy feeling.
According to a research review from 2017, exercise can promote the release of histamine to prevent fatigue rather than as an allergic reaction. Histamine makes the blood vessels dilate, which contributes to the itchy feeling.
You may be particularly prone to skin itching if you have sensitive skin. Allergy to certain detergents, fabric softeners, or clothing materials can cause itching. The combination of sweat and dry skin can aggravate the irritation.
Use products made for sensitive skin, and buy exercise clothes made from moisture-transporting substances to limit sweaty skin. To combat dry skin, apply moisturizer before running.
Exercise-induced urticaria is an allergic reaction that occurs when you experience itching along with hives or skin redness.
Additional symptoms may include:
- stomach cramps
- heavy breathing
- swelling of the face, tongue, or hands
This allergic reaction occurs during or after strenuous exercises like running or hiking, especially when exercising in hot or cold weather.
Exercise-induced vasculitis is also known as walking rash. It is sometimes called a Disney rash because it often involves being physically active and exposed to sunlight on a hot day, common in Disney theme parks.
This inflammatory condition involves red spots, purple spots, and swelling of the thighs and lower legs. The itchy rash is accompanied by intense pain and burning.
Genetics can make you more prone to exercise-induced vasculitis.
Exercise-induced purpura can occur when running marathons, taking long walks or participating in unusual physical activity. It is widespread in hot weather in the mountains.
This condition causes bloodstains on the lower legs. It usually does not affect skin that is compressed by socks.
In most cases, the wounds heal within a few days.
Other possible causes
Other possible causes of running itch include:
- food allergies
- alcoholic beverages
- medications, including aspirin
- other allergic reactions
Will it go away?
Although running itching is uncomfortable, there is usually no need to worry.
An exercise routine is the best way to prevent itch and reduce intensity. Usually, when your body gets used to exercising again, the itching subsides.
Slow down, take a break or stop exercising as soon as the symptoms begin. If you have a severe case of itching that does not improve with treatment, you may need to stop exercising altogether, especially in hot weather.