It’s the most commonly observed fact that as our body gets heated up, a strange sensation occurs all through the body, especially in the sweatier parts like armpits. We often find ourselves asking the question, why do I itch every time I sweat? And we are left with no other answer except keep on scratching. What causes this itching? Maybe it’s the reaction of the unshaven skin with sweat or something more serious. Let’s find out.

Why Do I Itch When I Sweat?

Some theories suggest that the salt in our sweat might be the reason of this whole itching thing. But according to a dermatologist Yan Isabel Zhu, M.D., the concentration of salt in our sweat is so insignificant that it could not be the reason of itching. Then what? Here are the few basic reasons of itching.

Release of Histamine

Physical activities like working out, running or so on, causes your body temperature to rise than normal. Once that happens, our body naturally strives to get rid of that extra amount of heat by sending more blood to the cooler areas of body. In doing that the mast cells in our body release histamine (histamine also causes seasonal allergies and skin rash), and that histamine is a great factor behind itching.


Chemical Reaction

Many times, our clothes are left with unknown chemicals. The chemicals could be the residue of the fabric softener or washing powder. Or the new unwashed clothes also have the leftovers of some sorts of chemicals. In some cases, as you wear unwashed clothes, the chemicals cause an allergic reaction to your skin and you find yourself confused about why do I itch when I sweat.



Eczema or atopic dermatitis is another significant reason of itching among people. In eczema, people experience a deadly itch all over the body. And as they scratch it, the body suffers instant rashes and the cycle of itching and rashes continues. There are ways to treat it. Some of them are as under;

  • Controlling the itch by taking antihistamine like Claritin or Zyrtec

  • Applying hydrocortisone cream.

  • Try your best to avoid scratching otherwise you may get your skin broken and that would be a drastic step towards another skin infection.


Cholinergic Urticaria

It’s a skin disorder that causes severe skin reaction and people face terrible kind of itching. Facts like high temperature, working out, running or any type of emotional stress causes this hypersensitivity. We say it’s terrible as in some cases, it has been reported to appear just after 30 minutes of a workout. Most common areas affected by it include legs, arms, neck and upper chest. People experiencing it normally end up with small skin eruptions with pale centers and red borders. These tiny bumps may last for days or for several minutes. But the usual timing of these rashes is around 80 minutes. In some cases, it remains confined to a single body part but it is also reported to spread all over the body. Fever and troubled breathing are also the symptoms often observed in the patients of Cholinergic urticaria.


What one says:

“I always had trouble wearing polyester and nylon. As I used to wear that, I had a feeling of irritation and discomfort. It was just a terribly itchy experience to wear any of those. And I often used to think why do I itch when I sweat, especially in those two fabrics. I never had an idea about its reason. It was just after so many years that I came to know that I had cholinergic urticaria. And now I often find many others facing the same itchy issue.”

Other Causes of Skin Itching

Besides all of the causes mentioned above there are a few other symptoms that may cause itchy skin.

Fungal/Yeast Infection

People who work out, often suffer from fungal or yeast infection. Yeast fungal infections often affect the sweaty areas like armpit, groin and under the breast.


Jock Itch

Jock itch is also known as tinea cruris or ringworm of the groin. It’s another annoying itch that people face while working out. Athlete’s foot is the most common victim of these fungal infections.


Candida Infection

The more your body faces the high temperatures, the more you are likely to have itching caused by candida infection.

What to Do to Avoid Itching

Here are a few tips to avoid the problem of itching.

  • Keep your skin clean and dry.

  • Avoid the use of too hot water while taking a shower.

  • Over scrubbing can also lead to an itchy and irritating skin so please avoid it.

  • Get your skin moisturized regularly especially after exercising and shower. Try to use a greasy moisturizer as it skillfully locks the natural moisture of the skin and does not let it dry.

  • Prefer to wear breathable fabrics most of the time, especially when you are working out. Avoid the fabrics like polyester and nylon as these may cause more sweat and less airflow.

  • Prefer cotton and moisture-wicking synthetics when working out.

  • Opt for sleeveless shirts, it will help evaporating the moisture.

  • Never forget to wash your new clothes with a mild washing powder. And it is better to avoid fabric softener.

  • Be careful and notice, if there are some specific outfits that causes this itchy situation each time. If it is so, look for the most common fiber contents. And avoid that for future use.

  • Keep wiping out the sweat when exercising, with some soft, handy towel.

  • Set the room to a lower temperature when exercising. Cooling temperature is less likely to cause itch.

Even after following all the tips mentioned here, if you still feel itchy and you still have the same question in your mind, why do I itch when I sweat, it is time to talk to your dermatologist.


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