Atopic dermatitis and sweat

Now that the good weather and the warmer months are upon us, sweating is becoming a constant in our daily lives. Although its presence may be uncomfortable, its production is necessary to keep our skin hydrated and control body temperature.

If we have healthy skin and an average sweat production level, it should not cause any problem other than some discomfort, but what happens when we have sensitive skin? Does sweat affect damaged skin by atopic dermatitis?

Let’s take a closer look!

What is sweat?

Sweat is a transparent body fluid produced in the sweat glands.

The pH of sweat is weakly acidic, and its main components include electrolytes such as sodium chloride and potassium, sodium bicarbonate, urea, pyruvic acid, and lactic acid. The urea and lactic acid in sweat hydrate the skin, retain moisture in the most superficial layer of the epidermis and help maintain its balance. In addition, our sweat also contains bactericidal peptides and IgA antibodies that help protect us against infections.

Sweat helps us regulate our body temperature; when it rises, our body begins to perspire.

How does sweating affect atopic dermatitis?

As you will remember from other articles, atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by dry skin and intense itching. External factors such as pollen, dust mites, dust, pollution, soaps, or perfumes can cause its appearance or aggravate it since the immune functions of people suffering from it are modified. They are more sensitive to the action of certain elements that can act as allergens.

The same happens with sweating, which aggravates the symptoms in patients with atopic dermatitis. In clinical practice, it can be observed that symptoms worsen during seasons when sweating is frequent in school environments. However, these symptoms typically improve with continued efforts to remove the sweat by showering or wiping with a wet towel.

The exacerbation of atopic dermatitis by sweat may be associated with primary irritation evoked by elevated body temperature, altered skin surface pH, or dust contamination in sweat. However, several studies suggest that patients with atopic dermatitis often have some hypersensitivity or allergy to their sweat.

A study published in 2017 seems to link this allergy to the presence of a yeast known as Malassezia, which is commonly found on our skin. Patients with dermatitis produce more antibodies against this microorganism, which generates a more robust immune response against the contents of their sweat.

However, it is also important to note that people with atopic dermatitis sweat less than those without. By sweating less, their skin retains heat, dries out, and is more prone to itching and infection. Sweat is, therefore, an ally, as it maintains skin hydration and an enemy, as its accumulation can aggravate dermatitis symptoms due to allergy.

How to avoid sweat damage in atopic-prone skins

Although sweating is an essential physiological phenomenon, leaving excess sweat on the surface of the skin aggravates atopic dermatitis symptoms. Two measures that can help us to reduce these symptoms are:

  • Removing sweat from the skin by showering or bathing to prevent the accumulation of allergens that cause allergic reactions.
  • Improving the altered barrier functions of the skin since a damaged skin barrier favors the infiltration of allergens from sweat into the dermis and the subsequent release of inflammatory substances such as histamine.

For this reason, our team has developed Nocisens, Nocisens Intense and Nocisens Baby, neurodermatological solutions specifically designed for the care of sensitive atopic-prone skin, reducing sensitivity, and helping to restore the skin’s balance. Do you want to know more?

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Keywords: atopic dermatitis; sweat; sweating; allergy; skin


  • Murota, H., Yamaga, K., Ono, E., Murayama, N., Yokozeki, H., & Katayama, I. (2019). Why does sweat lead to the development of itch in atopic dermatitis? Experimental Dermatology, 28(12), 1416–1421.
  • Takahagi, S., Tanaka, A., & Hide, M. (2018). Sweat allergy. Allergology International, 67(4), 435–441.
  • Murota, H., & Katayama, I. (2017). Exacerbating factors of itch in atopic dermatitis. Allergology International, 66(1), 8–13.


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