Can Pre-Workout Supplements Cause Acne?

If you’re wondering whether pre-workout supplements can cause acne, the answer is unfortunately, yes. Here’s what you need to know about this potential side effect.


When it comes to working out and athletic performance, pre-workout supplements are a popular choice for many athletes. Studies have shown that these supplements can improve physical endurance and strength, as well as provide other beneficial effects like improved mental focus and clarity. However, while pre-workout supplements can offer many benefits, there is also the potential that they can cause side effects – one of which is acne.

Acne has been linked to some of the ingredients found in pre-workout supplements including caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine. These ingredients act as stimulants which can increase production of oil in the skin, clog pores and create an ideal environment for bacteria growth leading to breakouts. It should also be noted that exercise itself can contribute to acne due to factors such as sweat and friction on the skin caused by clothing or fitness equipment.

This article will discuss what pre-workout supplements are, their potential side effects and how to prevent them from causing acne in order to maintain healthy skin for better performance during exercise.

What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?

Pre-workout supplements are designed to help athletes enhance their performance and gain endurance. These supplements usually contain ingredients such as caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and B vitamins. While pre-walkout supplements can offer some benefits, they can also lead to acne breakouts due to their stimulant content.

Caffeine is a common ingredient in pre-workout products that helps increase energy levels and improve focus, however it can also cause an increase in oil production and lead to clogged pores which can result in acne. Creatine has been found to be helpful for muscle growth but when consumed in high doses it has been associated with an increase in testosterone levels which can cause an increase in sebum production which can lead to acne breakouts. Beta-alanine is another common ingredient found in many pre workout supplements which might cause acne when taken regularly as it is known for its anti–inflammatory properties and leads to increased circulation causing facial redness leading to breakouts.

It is important to note that pre-workout supplements may have different effects on different people. Pay attention to how your body responds while taking any kind of supplement or medication, including pre workout drinks, so you are aware of how your skin reacts and you know what works best for you.

How Pre-Workout Supplements Can Cause Acne

Many people take pre-workout supplements to get an energy boost before a workout, but unfortunately, these supplements can also cause acne to break out. This is because some of the ingredients in pre-workout supplements can cause an increase in sebum production, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Let’s dive into the details and explore how pre-workout supplements can cause acne.


Caffeine is one of the most common ingredients in pre-workout supplements, and it can cause an increase in hormones that can lead to acne. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands, which release adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels, but it also triggers an increase in sebum — a type of oily substance made by the body to moisturize and protect skin. Too much sebum can clog hair follicles and cause acne breakouts.

Caffeine also increases blood sugar levels, which further stimulates the production of cortisol and further contributes to acne breakouts — especially around the mouth and chin area. Caffeine has also been linked to increased levels of inflammatory markers like prostaglandins and nitric oxide, both of which have been associated with acne formation.

Finally, caffeine can be dehydrating, leading to dry skin that is more prone to breakouts. It’s important to hydrate before and after taking pre-workout supplements containing caffeine in order to reduce dehydration-related redness, irritation, or other factors that could contribute to acne formation.


Creatine is a pre-workout supplement that’s most commonly used for building muscle mass, but it has other benefits as well. It can help increase your energy level and strength, allowing you to get through a tough workout without fatigue setting in. Unfortunately, it also may be linked to acne breakouts.

Studies have shown that people who take creatine supplements appear to be more likely to develop acne. It’s believed that the main culprit is an increased production of testosterone, which can lead to increased sebum production and clogging of the pores. It’s possible that taking other supplements like protein powders could also cause acne breakouts, but there’s not a lot of evidence to back up this theory.

Creatine should always be taken as directed and combined with healthy lifestyle practices such as drinking plenty of water and eating balanced meals with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables — both of which have been linked to fewer skin breakouts. If you do experience an outbreak after using pre-workout supplements like creatine, it might be a good idea to cut back on the amount you take or stop using them altogether until your skin clears up.

Other Ingredients

When looking at pre-workout supplements, it’s important to consider what other ingredients they contain. Some of these ingredients, like caffeine and sugar alcohols, have the potential to cause acne if consumed in large enough quantities. Caffeine can increase blood flow to the skin and make your pores more prone to clogging by allowing more dirt and oil to become trapped inside. Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol or maltitol can also contribute to acne development when consumed in excess because they are related to yeast fermentation which increases bacteria growth in the skin.

Other ingredients such as artificial sweeteners and dyes like Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium (AceK) or Blue No 2 may play a role in skin breakouts due to their chemical makeup which causes inflammation on the surface of the skin. In addition, many pre-workout supplements also contain artificial flavorings and binders which can be irritating to the skin and impact its natural balance.

It’s important to research exactly what is included in any supplement you are considering taking before consuming it, as it could be an underlying source of your acne difficulties. Make sure that you are mindful of all the different ingredients used so that you can minimize any unwanted side effects on your skin health.

How to Avoid Acne Breakouts

Pre-workout supplements are popular among athletes and bodybuilders, as they can give you more energy during workouts. However, many people don’t realize that these supplements can cause acne breakouts. If you’re trying to avoid acne breakouts, it’s important to understand how pre-workout supplements can affect your skin. Let’s take a closer look at how to avoid acne breakouts when taking pre-workout supplements.

Choose the Right Supplement

Before hitting the gym, some people turn to pre-workout supplements to give them a boost of energy. But if you’re prone to acne, you may want to consider your supplement choices as certain ingredients can cause flare-ups and make breakouts worse.
Choosing the right supplement can go a long way in helping you avoid breakouts due to regular pre-workout use. Look for supplements that are free from artificial sweeteners, dyes, and preservatives as they can often be triggers for acne. Also keep an eye out for common acne-causing ingredients, such as creatine and oleic acid, when selecting your supplement.

If you find that an ingredient list still contains items that could potentially cause an unwanted breakout, it’s best to leave it on shelf and move on to something more suitable for your skin concerns. Some supplements opt for simple blends of natural ingredients with nothing added, so look out for labels that showcase the absence of any dubious extras or chemically engineered items – these will often be suited best for those with sensitive skin.

On top of choosing the right product beforehand, make sure that you wash off any sweat or product after your workout – regular cleansing will help reduce further irritation or inflammation from setting in during or directly after exercise. Overall, always look at every step of your fitness routine holistically and research suggested products carefully before purchasing them. That being said by maintaining a consistent skincare routine before during and after using any pre-workout supplement may help in avoiding breakouts altogether!

Take the Right Dosage

Taking the right dosage of pre-workout supplements is important for avoiding acne breakouts. Too much of a supplement can cause an increase in acne, so it is important to follow the guidelines on the label carefully and be sure not to exceed the recommended daily dose. It’s also a good idea to start with smaller dosages in order to better assess your body’s tolerance level, and gradually work up to your desired amount. Before taking any supplements, it is wise to consult with a doctor or health care professional in order to ensure they are safe and appropriate for you.

Nutrition is key as well – even if you adhere strictly to a healthy diet, occasional deficits may occur due to physical activity or other factors that can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Taking supplements in moderation will help address these deficiencies while avoiding toxic levels of ingested substances that may contribute negatively towards skin health. Additionally, staying adequately hydrated with water will help your body keep impurities at bay, which is another way to minimize potential outbreaks.

Finally, monitoring changes in your skin in reaction to different ingestion amounts helps make accurate decisions about how much pre-workout supplements you should take. This can usually be accomplished by noting any small changes on the body’s surface within 24-48 hours after beginning a new dose or supplement regimen, as an indicator of potential future reactions you may experience from prolonged use if experiencing said reactions from short term trials. Pay attention and use caution when taking pre-workout supplements so as not compromise progress made through healthy lifestyle habits and proper nutrition — your skin will thank you!

Stay Hydrated

One key factor in avoiding acne breakouts is to stay hydrated. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day, and consider supplementing with electrolyte tablets if you tend to sweat significantly during exercise.

Keeping your skin properly hydrated prevents toxins from accumulating and causing inflammation and infection. Additionally, consuming plenty of water ensures that your skin remains well-nourished and toxin-free. It’s important not to let yourself become overly dehydrated as this can weaken your body’s defenses against acne-causing bacteria. Lastly, drinking more water helps flush out the harmful toxins that accumulate in the skin from unhealthy diets and excessive sun exposure. It is recommended that adults drink at least 8 glasses of water per day for optimal hydration levels.


So, can pre-workout supplements cause acne? While there is no definitive answer to this question, the available evidence suggests that they can increase your risk of developing acne. Factors such as one’s skin type, perspiration levels and other environmental factors may also contribute to the development of acne. Therefore, it is important to take all necessary precautions when taking pre-workout supplements, like wearing appropriate clothing and taking regular showers after workouts. Moreover, it is always recommended to consult with a doctor prior to starting any new supplement regimen.

Checkout this video:

Similar Posts