Back to School Skin SOS: Tackling Common Skin Infections in Young Athletes

With the start of a new school year it is important to maintain healthy skin, especially for our young athletes who are always on the go. Whether your childs involved in football, cheer, basketball, wrestling, or any other activity, it’s important to be aware of the common skin infections that can occur.

Despite its name, ringworm isn’t caused by worms but rather a fungal infection. It appears as a circular, red rash with raised edges. To prevent ringworm, remind your child to avoid sharing personal items like towels, clothing, or equipment. Encourage them to shower immediately after practice and wear clean, breathable clothing.

Athlete’s Foot is a fungal infection that thrives in warm, moist environments such as locker rooms or shared showers. Teach your child to wear flip-flops or sandals in communal areas and to keep their feet clean and dry. Utilizing antifungal powders or creams can also help prevent and treat athlete’s foot.

Commonly found among young athletes, impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial infection. It appears as red sores that may develop into blisters or become crusted, often on exposed areas like the face, neck, and extremities. Encourage regular handwashing, proper wound care, and avoiding direct contact with affected individuals.

Herpes Gladiatorum, also known as “mat herpes,” is a viral infection prevalent in contact sports like wrestling. It presents as painful, fluid-filled blisters and requires immediate medical attention. Advise your child to avoid sharing towels, gear, and direct skin-to-skin contact with potential sources of infection.

The combination of sweat, heat, and friction from sports equipment can lead to acne mechanica. Encourage your young athlete to wear moisture-wicking, breathable clothing and to cleanse their skin thoroughly after activities. Using oil-free, non-comedogenic products can also help prevent clogged pores and breakouts. Some of my favorite products from skinfo® for teen athletes are Glytone Acne Treatment Back Spray (8 fl oz, $40), skinfo® Clean and Tone Pads (60 Pads, $28), and skinfo® Essential Cleanser (6.7 oz, $28). You can go to skinfo® for a personalized skincare regimen!

By staying informed and proactive, you can help protect your young athletes from these common skin infections. If any concerns arise, please call or text us at 847.459.6400 to schedule an appointment with your medical provider. Wishing your young champions a healthy and victorious year!