Have you ever noticed pimples or a rash on your skin following an intense workout or when the weather is hot? If this is the case, you’re not alone. Excess sweating can cause bumps and pimples on the face or body. While sweat pimples are not dangerous, they can be bothersome and uncomfortable. In this article, we talk about their causes, treatment, and prevention.

What is a Sweat Pimple?

Sweat pimples develop when the liquid becomes trapped in the pores or ducts, causing a blockage that can lead to inflammation and irritation. In addition, wearing tight clothes or a face mask may irritate your skin and increase the risk of getting pimples called acne mechanica. This skin condition can affect anyone, particularly athletes, soldiers, and students.

Does sweat cause acne? Evidence [1] indicates that while it may not be the primary trigger, excessive sweating can contribute to acne or increase its severity.

The Difference Between Sweat Pimples and Regular Acne

The main difference between sweat pimples and regular acne lies in the reasons for their development. Regular acne usually occurs due to hormonal fluctuations, genetics, or other factors [2] like sebaceous overactivity or an inadequate skincare routine.

On the other hand, sweat-related pimples result from a buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria that combine with the liquid to cause tiny bumps. They are somewhat distinct, for example, from hormonal acne, as the cause is impurities that clog your pores rather than hormonal imbalance.

Moreover, regular acne appears as whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts, or nodules, whereas sweat acne is usually pinkish and inflamed.

It’s also essential to distinguish between sweat-related pimples and heat rash. Heat pimples develop due to perspiration trapped under the skin from blocked sweat ducts, but it is not acne. However, because it occurs in response to excess sweat, we also discuss heat rash pimples in this article.

What Causes Sweat Pimples?

Sweat pimples occur when sweat combines with dead skin cells, excess sebum (oil), and other impurities to cause irritation and inflammation. Here are the main reasons this could happen:

  • Blocked Sweat Glands: As impurities accumulate, sweat and debris can block the sweat glands and cause pimples or a rash.
  • Hot, Humid Weather: Spending time in a hot, humid environment can cause excessive sweating, which can overwhelm the sweat glands and lead to pimples on the skin’s surface. There is evidence [3] to indicate that hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) may lead to acne.
  • Friction: Wearing tight clothing causes friction, which can trap the sweat against your skin, clog your pores, and cause pimples.
  • Poor Air Circulation: If you are in an environment where the air circulation is poor, sweat can’t evaporate efficiently, increasing the risk of pore blockages. Developing pimples for this reason is a particular risk in regions like the underarms and groin.

  • Skin Irritants: Skin products with harsh ingredients like sulfates, fragrances, or parabens can contribute to irritating the skin, clogging the pores, and causing pimples.
  • Bacterial Growth: Sweat has a pH that supports bacterial growth, which may further contribute to pimples. Research [4] confirms that changes in pH are a risk factor for developing acne.
  • Overweight or Obesity: According to the evidence [5], obesity and insulin resistance are associated with acne. Individuals who are overweight or obese are more likely to sweat, which can contribute to heat rash or sweat-related pimples.

What Are the Symptoms of Sweat Pimples?

The main symptoms of sweat pimples include:

  • Small, raised bumps on the skin
  • Redness in the affected area
  • An itching or prickling sensation
  • Localized discomfort
  • Pimples in clusters or patches, primarily on the forehead, neck, chest, back, underarms, inner thighs, groin, and under the breasts
  • Increased irritation in hot and humid environments

The Best Home Remedies For Sweat Pimples

There are several home remedies you can try for the management of sweat-related pimples. While effective, it’s important to note that these methods should not replace dermatological treatment. The best techniques include:

  • Exfoliating: Exfoliation is the process of removing dead cells and other impurities from your skin. By using an exfoliating product regularly, you can keep your skin optimally cleansed, prevent the pores from getting clogged, and reduce pimples.
  • Using a Spot Treatment: Quality skincare formulations like Zeroblem Blemish Treatment Serum dissolve excess oil and quickly heal pimples without irritating the skin.
  • Applying a Cold Compress: Pressing a cold compress against the irritated area can help relieve the itchiness and irritation of sweat pimples.
  • Adding Aloe Vera Gel to Your Routine: Due to its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera can help reduce the irritation associated with pimples and eliminate them.
  • Incorporating Hyaluronic Acid: Include products in your skincare routine with hyaluronic acid for acne-prone skin. This deeply hydrating ingredient can speed up healing and reduce pimples.
  • Applying Tea Tree Oil: Applying diluted tea tree oil to the irritated area can promote healing thanks to its antimicrobial properties that kill harmful microbes on the skin. It also has potent anti-inflammatory agents that decrease redness and swelling.
Types of Pimples

How to Prevent Sweat Pimples

There are no real health risks related to sweat pimples, but they can be annoying and impact your confidence. Here are some methods for preventing them:

  • Shower with antibacterial soap after heavy sweating
  • Wash your workout clothes regularly
  • Maintain a regular skincare routine
  • Seek shade during hot weather
  • Use shower gels, body lotions, and other skincare products that don’t clog pores or dry out the skin
  • Avoid wearing makeup when working out
  • Try to limit how much you touch your skin
  • Sleep on clean pillowcases and bedsheets
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing or accessories that prevent your skin from ‘breathing.’

How to Treat Sweat Pimples

It’s important to see a dermatologist about this condition, especially if your pimples are persistent. They may recommend benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid solutions to remove dead skin cells. In some cases, the physician may suggest topical retinoids to clear blocked pores.

If your pimples are related to an infection, the dermatologist could prescribe antibiotics. In addition, they may advise you on how to adapt your skincare routine to manage pimples more effectively.
Ask the dermatologist any questions you may have, such as “Why do I sweat so much when I work out?” If they think your excessive sweating is related to another medical issue, they may recommend that you see a medical doctor.


Can sweating cause pimples?

Sweat itself doesn’t cause pimples, but it contributes to their development. When sweat mixes with sebum and dead skin cells, pores may become clogged, resulting in pimples and acne breakouts. You can prevent sweat pimples by following a regular skincare routine and proper hygiene practices.

How do I eliminate sweat pimples on my thighs?

You can get rid of sweat and heat pimples on your thighs by gently washing the affected area twice a day. Use a gentle product and make sure it’s not oil-based. Try not to touch and scratch your thighs, and wear loose clothing made with gentle fabrics to prevent friction.

Is sweat good or bad for acne?

There are no specific answers to the questions, “Is sweating good for your skin?” or “Is sweat good or bad for acne?” Sweat itself isn’t good, but it has no serious health risks.

However, sweat can combine with excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. As a result, your pores may become clogged, leading to skin problems. Sweat is particularly problematic for people who are already prone to acne.

What does sweat acne look like?

Sweat acne appears as small, irritated, red, or pinkish bumps and often leads to inflammation or irritation. This type of acne usually develops where sweat accumulates, such as on the forehead, back, chest, and groin. For example, you may develop forehead blackheads due to sweat.

Are sweat pimples itchy?

Yes, sweat pimples can be itchy at times, but not always. In addition, some people develop heat pimples, which can be itchy but are harmless. This heat-related rash causes mild irritation due to the body’s response to sweat, bacteria, and other impurities on the surface of the skin.

How long do sweat pimples last?

The answer to the question, “How long do pimples last?” depends on factors like individual skin type, the severity of the breakout or rash, and the treatment. In most cases, sweat-related pimples resolve in two or three days. To eliminate them quickly, follow a consistent skincare routine and cleanse your body regularly.


Sweat pimples are quite common, but they are also easy to avoid. By following a consistent skincare routine and optimal hygiene practices, you can prevent pores and sweat ducts from clogging. In addition, we recommended cleansing your face and showering after excess sweating, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and choosing products that won’t irritate your skin or clog pores.

The suggestions we provide in this article should keep your skin free of sweat pimples, healthy, and glowing.