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Sweat rash

Sweat rash is common during the dry season, and can affect you frequently if you play sports regularly. It normally shows up as a red rash on your skin.

Also known as candida intertrigo, sweat rash is a superficial skin inflammation caused by yeast and bacteria. Candidiasis develops on the areas of your body where moisture becomes trapped, as Candida yeast spreads easily when your skin condition changes. For example, if your skin becomes warmer when exposed to humid conditions.1

Sweat rash symptoms

You might have a sweat rash if you notice:

  • Red rash with scaling on the periphery
  • Stinging or burning sensation on skin
  • Cracked skin in the space between your fingers or toes
  • Blisters
  • Foul-smelling odour 2

You should see a doctor if:

  • Your sweat rash persists
  • Your symptoms are caused by being overweight, for advice on losing weight
  • You are pregnant or elderly 3
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Understanding sweat rash

Humidity, friction and lack of ventilation all contribute to sweat rash. That's why you will find that it shows up in skin folds or areas that normally stay covered. It's also why physical exercise can make symptoms more pronounced.4

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Sweat rash treatment

It’s always best to start treatment for your Candida-associated sweat rash early with topical products like creams or sprays.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be recommended treatment using an antifungal product, or a milder anti-inflammation product such as hydrocortisone.5

Preventing sweat rash

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Avoid rubbing dry skin to prevent damaging your skin and spreading the infection further.6

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Keep the affected areas of the skin dry, cool and exposed to air.7

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Clean your skin gently and apply a moisturiser or barrier cream.7

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Avoid tight-fitting clothes that may rub your skin. Choose natural fabrics over synthetic fibres.6

Facts about sweat rash

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You may be more at risk of developing sweat rash if you live an active lifestyle.6

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Sweat rash appears in areas with less air circulation, such as your armpits, on the back of the knees or between your fingers and toes.6

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The following people are at high risk of developing sweat rash: overweight, weak immune system due to chemotherapy, have HIV or diabetes, exposed to high heat and humidity, use clothing and shoes that are too tight, and/or confined to bed. 6,7

REFERENCES:

  1. Kalra, M. et al.: Intertrigo and Secondary Skin Infections, in: American Family Physician, Volume 89, Number 7, April 1, 2014, p. 569
  2. Clinical Manifestations, in: Kalra, M.: op. cit/
  3. History and Physical & Consultations, in: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531489/
  4. Kalra, M. et al., op. cit.
  5. Treatment, in: Kalra, M. et al., op. cit.
  6. History and Physical & Treatment and Management, in: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531489/
  7. Preventing Recurrent Infections, in: Kalra, M. et al. op. cit.