Common Skin Infections in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Understanding and Preventing Them

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Learn how to prevent skin infections in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) with these effective measures. From ringworm to staph infections and impetigo, discover the preventive steps to keep your skin healthy. Prioritize good personal hygiene, clean and disinfect gear regularly, and avoid training with active infections. Stay safe and enjoy your BJJ journey!


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a highly regarded martial art and combat sport that engages participants in close physical contact. While BJJ provides numerous physical and mental advantages, it is crucial for practitioners to understand and address the potential risks of contracting skin infections. In this informative guide, we will delve into the common skin infections prevalent in BJJ, such as ringworm, staph infections, impetigo, herpes gladiatorum, and folliculitis. Furthermore, we will unveil effective preventive measures to safeguard against these infections and ensure a safe and enjoyable BJJ journey. Prioritizing good personal hygiene and implementing proper cleaning and disinfection practices are essential steps towards maintaining healthy skin in the world of BJJ. Let’s explore these fundamental preventive measures together!

1. Ringworm (Tinea corporis)

Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that commonly affects BJJ practitioners. It appears as a circular, red rash with raised edges and a clear center. Ringworm spreads through direct skin contact and can be contracted from training partners or contaminated surfaces.

Prevention: To prevent ringworm, follow these tips:


2. Staph Infections (Staphylococcus aureus)

Staph infections are caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can enter the body through broken or compromised skin. BJJ practitioners are prone to developing staph infections due to the nature of the sport, including the constant rubbing and contact with the mat or equipment.

Prevention: Here are some preventive measures against staph infections:

  • Maintain good personal hygiene, including regular handwashing with soap and water.
  • Cover any open wounds or cuts with clean bandages or dressings before training.
  • Clean and disinfect mats, training gear, and equipment regularly.
  • Avoid training when you have an active infection, such as an open wound or boil.
  • Be cautious when training with individuals who have visible skin infections.

3. Impetigo

Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection often caused by either Streptococcus pyogenes or Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. It appears as red sores or blisters that burst and develop honey-colored crusts. Impetigo can be transmitted through direct skin contact, sharing of contaminated items, or even touching surfaces with the bacteria.

Prevention: To reduce the risk of impetigo, follow these preventive measures:

  • Keep your skin clean by regularly washing it with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching or scratching any open sores or blisters.
  • Use clean towels and avoid sharing personal items.
  • Clean and disinfect training mats, gear, and equipment.
  • Encourage good personal hygiene among all BJJ practitioners.

4. Herpes Gladiatorum

Herpes Gladiatorum, also known as “mat herpes,” is a viral skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). It is highly contagious and spreads through skin-to-skin contact, particularly during training or competitions. Symptoms include painful, fluid-filled blisters that may appear on the face, neck, or extremities.

Prevention: To prevent the spread of herpes gladiatorum:

  • Avoid close contact with individuals displaying active symptoms of the infection.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after training sessions.
  • Refrain from training or competing if you have an active outbreak.
  • Clean and disinfect mats and equipment regularly.
  • Educate yourself and others about the importance of early detection and treatment.


Folliculitis is an infection or inflammation of hair follicles and can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. BJJ practitioners may develop folliculitis due to friction and sweat buildup during training, leading to infected hair follicles. Symptoms include small, red bumps or pus-filled blisters around hair follicles.

Prevention: Here are some preventive measures against folliculitis:

  • Keep your skin clean and dry before and after training sessions.
  • Avoid excessive friction or wearing tight clothing that can irritate the skin.
  • Shower immediately after training and use antibacterial soap.
  • Clean and disinfect training gear and equipment regularly.
  • Avoid sharing towels or personal items with others.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to skin infections in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. By following these preventive measures and maintaining good personal hygiene, you can significantly reduce the risk of contracting and spreading infections. Stay diligent and prioritize your health and well-being in your BJJ journey. Also remember to always consult your doctor!