Exercise should make you feel better, but some may experience an outbreak of red dots on their chest or stomach while working out. There are numerous causes for red dots when exercising -- including food allergies, heat rash, rosacea, eczema, chafing -- some are completely benign, and others need medical attention.
Appearance and Possible Symptoms
Red dots on your stomach and chest skin when exercising might be tiny or they can appear in large patches. Sometimes the breakout is accompanied by other symptoms, including dizziness, itching, swelling of the skin or eyes or a burning sensation on the skin. Should you experience any of these conditions along with the breakout of red dots, stop exercising immediately and see a doctor.
One cause of red dots while exercising is allergies. If you eat something before you exercise that you’re allergic to -- even if you don’t know it -- the increased blood circulation caused by exercise speeds up the rate at which your body distributes the allergen. So, you might experience an allergic reaction to foods during exercise that you don’t experience without the increased blood circulation. Another reason for the dots is heat rash. This is a condition in which the sweat ducts become clogged with sweat, producing itchy red splotches, usually on the chest and stomach. Certain skin conditions, such as rosacea and eczema, can also be triggered by exercise. These conditions can appear in adulthood, even if you’ve never seen symptoms in yourself when you were younger. Lastly red dots may occur during exercise due to chafing -- an often painful result of constant skin on skin or skin on clothing contact. Chafing can be prevented with proper clothing or using petroleum jelly on chafing spots for lubrication.
Prevention and Self-Treatment
If the red dots are nothing more than something you don’t like looking at, it may just be a mild condition that can be treated at home. Try using cool compresses on the area after exercising. To treat itching or burning, use an over-the-counter treatment cream, such as anhydrous lanolin or calamine lotion. Try to prevent the red splotches from occurring by wearing light, breathable clothing and exercising indoors. Use an air conditioner or a fan to prevent overheating. Or, try exercising in the swimming pool to keep sweat from building up on your skin during your workout.
Seeking Medical Attention
If the red dots are accompanied by more serious symptoms, you’ll need to see a doctor. When the irritation breaks the skin, it can become infected. Visit your doctor if the red dots are accompanied by inflammation, excessive irritation, pus pockets, breathing difficulties, weak pulse, vomiting, trouble swallowing or swelling of the mouth or lips.