How to Treat Mat Rash From Wrestling


Wrestling involves prolonged skin-to-skin contact with others, which can result in viral, bacterial or fungal skin infections. The most common skin rashes resulting from wrestling are impetigo, ringworm and herpes gladiatorum. Impetigo is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus which starts out as an open red sore then oozes and finally crusts over. Ringworm is caused by a fungal infection and is characterized by discolored, slightly raised bumps on the skin. Herpes gladiatorum is caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is characterized by a cluster of blisters.


Shower before and after every wrestling match. Make sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Wash the wrestling mat and disinfect it with antibacterial wipes. Try to clean the mats at least once a week.

Launder your personal clothes, wrestling gear and towels every day. This will prevent bacteria and viruses from lingering on the gear and infecting your skin.

Inspect your skin after every match for lesions or any unusual markings. The sooner you notice a rash or infection, the sooner you can treat it effectively.


Visit a doctor as soon as you suspect a rash forming. Your doctor will inspect your skin and let you know exactly what type of rash you have and how to treat it.

Keep the infected skin clean and dry at all times. Wash it with warm water and soap, and pat completely dry with a clean towel.

To treat impetigo: Use topical antibiotics like mupirocin and fusidic acid. Gently remove scabbing and apply the topical treatments to the open sore. Use exactly as prescribed for best results.

To treat ringworm: Apply a thin layer of clotrimazole fungus cream to the ringworm and the surrounding area. Rub it in gently with your finger. Use the cream for at least a week. Stopping use early will cause the infection to come back. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed if the infection is very widespread.

To treat herpes gladiatorum: Take Acyclovir, a powerful antiviral medication, to ease the symptoms of the rash. A herpes rash usually goes away on its own within seven to 10 days, but make sure to not come in contact with others during this time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid wrestling matches and contact with other people before the rash has healed.

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