Sweating is considered good for the body because it clears your skin and eliminates all the dirt and toxins that may be harmful to you in the long run. It also cools your body down and helps you to deal with the hot summers with ease.
However, sometimes, a combination of excessive sweat and poor hygiene may result in certain not-so-serious health conditions. If you have noticed lumps or bumps in areas where you sweat like the underarms or chest, then you may have what is colloquially known as a sweat lump.
These sweat lumps are generally benign and do not pose a threat to your overall health. Let’s examine this condition in detail.
What Exactly Is A Sweat Lump?
A sweat lump is not a serious medical condition. It usually occurs when the sweat glands are clogged with dirt, dead skin, and bacteria that disrupts the natural process of perspiration.
This condition is similar to a skin condition known as hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). However, what you must keep in mind is that HS is not caused due to poor hygiene.1
Both these conditions form bumps on the skin that may be filled with a fluid or pus. However, the lumps may break out and can cause deep scars on the affected areas.
These sweat bumps may appear in areas where you have sweat glands – underarms, areas near the nose, inner thighs, breasts, chest, groin, etc.
So, now that you know what a sweat lump or bump is, let’s examine the signs and symptoms your body shows when the sweat glands are blocked.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sweat Lumps
These lumps appear in areas of the body that you sweat. The most common sign is a small bump. Apart from the bump, there are other signs that may help you identify the condition. These are as follows:
- The swelling or lump may be big or small.
- The lumps may be filled with pus or a fluid.
- They may cause irritation like itching.
- The lumps may be infected with bacteria and may lead to infection.
- Tingling feeling, slight pain, and burning sensation are the other symptoms.
Causes Of Sweat Lumps
Certain daily activities and tasks involve sweating. The following may be regarded as the main causes of the formation of sweat lumps.
- Hot, humid weather: Hot, humid climatic conditions cause excess sweating. If sweat accumulates and cannot evaporate, it may clog sweat glands along with excess oil and dead skin.
- Physical activity: Vigorous exercises or other activities like gardening may cause you to sweat excessively and may cause sweat lumps.
- Clothing: Wearing tight clothes leaving very little space for your skin to breathe may cause sweat lumps. Certain fabrics like wool may absorb the sweat and cause it to remain there without evaporating.
- Moisturizers: Certain lotions and creams can get mixed with sweat and may end up clogging sweat glands causing sweat lumps
- Certain medications: Using certain medications like acne control prescriptions may also cause sweat lumps.
Treatment For Sweat Lumps
If you observe any kind of lumps or bumps in the areas you sweat, the first thing you should avoid is self-medication. Always consult a doctor and follow what must be done to bring down the swelling in your sweat glands.
The doctor may prescribe certain ointment or cream for topical application that may help reduce the swelling. Sometimes, these may even contain antibiotics that may prevent or treat a lump with an infection.
In certain situations, the lump may have to be cut open to remove the pus or fluid to avoid any further infection. Whatever may the cause of the blocked sweat gland be, it is important to first visit the dermatologist to bring down the infection and to prevent it from spreading to other areas.
Prevention is always better than cure. So, here are some tips that you may want to apply in your daily life to keep your body clean and to avoid blocked sweat glands that may lead to sweat lumps.
Tips To Prevent Sweat Lumps
Here are some tips you can follow for better hygiene and to prevent your sweat glands from being blocked.
- Shower after a workout: After a workout session, always shower before you change into your usual clothes. This will ensure that you have washed all the sweat and that your body is free of bacteria and other germs.
- Wash workout clothes: It is important to have more than one pair of workout clothes. This is because it is essential to wash your gym clothes almost every alternate day. Sweat causes your clothes to be damp which is unhygienic.
- Choose loose, cotton clothes: It is a good practice to wear clothes that do not stick to the skin. Loose clothes, especially cotton fabrics, allow your skin to breathe and the sweat can be easily evaporated, too.
- Tie your hair while exercising: Try to keep your hair off your face and neck during exercises or any other physical activity. Hair may trap excess oil, bacteria, and sweat that may lead to the formation of sweat lumps.
So, if your sweat glands are blocked and you observe a lump or two in the areas, make sure you visit the dermatologist and follow the required prescriptions. These are usually harmless lumps, so don’t sweat it!