Can Working Out Get Rid of Acne?

Many people believe that working out can help get rid of acne, but is this really true? Let’s take a look at the science to find out.

Overview of Acne

Acne is an incredibly common skin condition, affecting around 80% of the population at some point in their lives. It can affect people of all ages, genders, and races, and can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances, stress, and genetics. While there are many treatments available, such as topical creams and antibiotics, there is still ongoing debate about the potential benefits of exercise in treating acne. In this article, we will examine the potential effects that working out may have on acne.

Causes of Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle. It usually results from clogged pores and increased sebum production. While the exact cause of acne is unknown, there are some factors that can trigger or worsen an outbreak.

Hormonal changes in puberty, monthly menstrual cycles, fluctuating androgen levels, stress and certain medications can all cause an increase in sebum production and lead to acne. Poor hygiene and bacteria buildup on the skin also contribute to breakouts. Sweating from exercise or playing sports can also aggravate acne-prone skin as sweat mixes with bacteria and oil on your skinsurface to form a blockage.

Genetics play a role too — if your parents had severe acne during their teen years, you are more likely to suffer from it as well. It’s important to note that diet has not been definitively linked to acne: though some people may find that certain foods exacerbate their breakouts, there is no clear scientific evidence correlating diet with worsened symptoms of acne.

Types of Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, affecting millions of people every year. While acne is mostly associated with teenagers, it can affect people at any age and can range from mild to severe. It typically appears on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders but can affect other areas as well.

Acne consists of clogged pores or inflamed spots which may appear as whiteheads, blackheads, papules or cystic acne. Different types of acne require different treatments and getting an accurate diagnosis from a certified dermatologist is key to getting the right kind of treatment and achieving clear skin. The four most common types are:

Whiteheads: Small bumps that have closed follicles with a small amount of pus beneath them; these bumps are referred to as ‘closed comedones’.
Blackheads: Also called open comedones; they appear on the skin as small black dots because the pore remains open and gets filled with sebum and bacteria that reacts with oxygen in the air.
Papules: These are small red bumps caused mainly due to inflammation below the surface of our skin; they’re not filled with pus but may be quite tender when touched.
Cysts: Also known as nodules; these large painful lesions occur deep under our skin and frequently contain pus; they usually take longer times and more aggressive treatments to disappear completely.

Benefits of Working Out

Regular exercise can provide numerous health and beauty benefits, and can even help with skin issues like acne. Working out can reduce stress, improve circulation, and help clear out toxins from the body. It can also reduce inflammation and improve overall skin health. Let’s look at the specific benefits of working out when it comes to acne.

Improves Circulation

Working out, especially aerobic activity such as running, biking and swimming can enhance your overall circulation. Increased circulation delivers more oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells, which can help promote cell regeneration. This results in younger looking skin that has more life and tone. Additionally, working out helps regulate androgens in your body. Androgens are hormones that ultimately lead to the formation of oil which clogs your pores, leading to breakouts. Regular exercise helps balance these hormones for smoother brighter skin.

Enhances Immunity

In addition to the more widely known physical benefits of exercise such as increased strength, weight loss, and improved muscle tone, exercise also offers psychological benefits such as enhanced concentration and mood regulation. Exercise also enhances immunity which provides protection from diseases like cancer, heart disease, and acne.

Regular physical activity helps to stimulate the production of white blood cells that are crucial to our body’s defense against illnesses. The circulation boost from a workout also helps keep away skin blemishes by aiding in the removal of toxins that can cause acne breakouts. Furthermore, exercising regularly can reduce stress levels which has been linked to increasing inflammation on the skin leading to breakouts.

Incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle may be one of the best defenses against developing acne or keeping it under control. Exercise not only strengthens your entire body but reinforces healthy habits by supporting a balanced lifestyle: diet and physical activity should not be thought of separately because they are integral to a holistic approach towards health.

Reduces Stress

Engaging in physical activity on a regular basis is known to reduce stress levels, as it allows you to take your mind off of your daily worries. High levels of stress are linked to increased levels of androgens in the body which increases sebum production, resulting in acne breakouts. Additionally, physical activities that allow for aerobic exercise, such as running or playing sports can help release endorphins and dopamine that positively affect mood and ultimately resulting in lower stress. Exercise can also be used as an outlet to reduce the presence and impact of negative thoughts by redirecting certain emotions in a healthy manner. Regular workout sessions can subsequently improve overall mental health and mood.

Working out can have beneficial effects on your skin, but does it also help in decreasing acne? Studies have shown that there is a link between exercise and improved skin health. While traditionally exercise has been linked with increased levels of acne, further research has suggested that regular exercise can help reduce acne. In this section, we will discuss the link between working out and acne.

Sweat and Acne

Sweat and heat can both cause the pores to clog, creating a perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to grow. Sweat has been known to clog the pores and contribute to acne breakouts. If your skin is prone to breakouts, oil production can be compounded by sweat which is why it is important to keep up with proper hygiene during workouts.

The body releases natural oils called sebum, which are important for keeping the skin moisturized and healthy but when these oils mix with dirt and sweat, they can clog your pores. This leads to oily skin, breakouts, blackheads, and whiteheads — symptoms commonly associated with acne. Research suggests that when you exercise regularly the sweat that secretes helps clear pores but if you don’t shower promptly afterwards it will encourage bacteria that cause acne instead of helping prevent it.

Proper hygiene after workouts such as promptly showering will help reduce the build up of sweat-induced bacteria on the surface of your skin that leads to acne breakouts as well as factors such as laundry detergent or a shampoo/body wash used at high temperatures which also can contribute to pore contamination which encourages bacterial growth on your skin leading up increase in blemishes or aggravated existing ones around face chest and back areas.

Hormonal Changes

Working out and exercise can certainly have an influence on acne, especially due to the hormonal changes that occur with increased physical activity. Exercise can cause increased levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can in turn increase inflammation and oil production in the skin. In addition, sweat contains oils and bacteria on the skin that can contribute to pore blockages.

However, regular exercise may also help reduce acne by boosting circulation and improving mood. Exercise increases blood flow to all areas of the body, including your skin, which helps bring oxygen-rich nutrients elsewhere. Physical activities like running, swimming or yoga may also help improve mood and lower stress levels, both of which are factors linked with acne occurrence.

If you already experience consistent breakouts or have sensitive skin, it’s important to be mindful of how certain types of workouts affect your skin. To reduce inflammatory symptoms after exercise on days when you’re prone to more active breakouts: choose a workout that blends cardio with strength training; take 10 minutes before (and 10 minutes after) exercise for cooling down and cleansing; wear sweat-wicking clothing; shower immediately after exercising if possible; use warm water instead of hot for showering; apply a gentle facial cleanser immediately following the exercise session; use an oil-free sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF during outdoor workouts or longer sessions outdoors without cover-up.

Diet and Acne

Although working out can improve your skin and overall health, it is important to remember that diet can also affect the development of acne. Eating foods high in sugar, dairy and certain fats can cause inflammation in the skin and lead to breakouts. It is essential to have a well-balanced diet that includes healthy fats, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates.

When it comes to your hydration levels, make sure to drink enough water throughout the day because dehydration can promote dryness in the skin. Avoiding alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks may help reduce acne-related inflammation in some people. Additionally, consider adding more fiber into your diet as fiber helps remove toxins from the body which may reduce inflammation associated with acne breakouts.

Lastly, aim for 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to get enough antioxidants for healthy skin cell production. Eating a balanced meal including lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats will provide you with essential nutrients such as zinc and Vitamin A which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Overall, focusing on diet as well as exercise when tackling acne will help ensure you’re following a holistic approach rather than just investing time at the gym alone!

Working Out to Reduce Acne

Working out is an excellent way to improve your physical and mental health, and it may even help reduce the severity of acne. Exercise can help reduce the hormones that cause acne, as well as improve your circulation, which can help reduce inflammation. Additionally, working out can help reduce stress levels, which can lead to fewer breakouts. Let’s take a closer look at how exercise can help reduce acne.

Choose the Right Workout

Although exercise can be beneficial to your overall health, working out with the wrong technique or equipment can actually increase your acne risk. To avoid this, it is essential to choose the right type of workout and ensure you are using correct form.

Low-impact activities may be more suitable than higher-intensity workouts if you are prone to breakouts. Moderate aerobic exercises like walking, swimming or biking will help improve circulation and stress levels while providing a cardiovascular benefit. Start slowly and gradually increase time, intensity and frequency as your body adapts to the new activity. Avoid activities that cause repetitive friction from clothing, such as running or spinning – try yoga or pilates instead.

Another important factor to consider when exercising for acne reduction is hydration. Sweat naturally contains toxins which leave your skin feeling oily and clogged – drinking enough water before and after exercising helps flush these out so that they don’t get trapped in pores or on the skin’s surface. It also helps replenish electrolytes lost during perspiration for faster muscle recovery. Ensure that you rehydrate with at least a few glasses of water every hour during workouts lasting longer than 30 minutes. Finally, showering directly after a workout removes any sweat that may be lingering on your face which could potentially cause breakouts later on if not removed immediately

Proper Hygiene

An important aspect of acne reduction is proper hygiene. While you’re working out, sweat can cause a build-up of bacteria on your skin, making it more prone to breakouts. It’s important to always keep your skin clean before and after a workout—use a gentle cleanser specifically designed for acne-prone skin and remove any makeup. You should also wash your face shortly afterwards to remove dirt and oil from the sweat. Additionally, avoid touching or prodding the affected area as this can spread bacteria and irritate already inflamed skin.

Other tips for proper hygiene include wearing breathable clothing that won’t trap moisture close to the skin, such as loose fitting synthetic fibers, natural materials like cotton or bamboo, and avoiding tight clothing made from synthetic materials that don’t allow air to circulate freely; changing out of sweaty workout clothes immediately after your workout; showering with lukewarm water; avoiding greasy products like coconut oil which can clog pores; using a noncomedogenic moisturizer if needed; using a facial toner to help combat oiliness; exfoliating regularly with an enzyme scrub; using an overnight treatment mask once or twice a week; and staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water. Following these tips will promote healthy hygiene practices to help get rid of acne naturally while still being able to enjoy exercising.

Appropriate Diet

There is evidence that dietary modifications can improve acne. Eating a healthy, balanced diet with reduced refined carbohydrates, added omega-3 fatty acids, and a range of natural fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins is recommended. Refined carbohydrates like white breads, pastries, processed snacks, and sugary breakfast cereals can increase blood sugar levels; if these remain high over time they can impact sebum production which exacerbates acne. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in coldwater fish such as salmon and mackerel as well as walnuts, flax seeds and other plant sources; research studies have suggested incorporating more of these into your diet may reduce sebum production aiding in the prevention of acne.

While there is disagreement about whether specific types of food cause acne breakouts those eliminating dairy products from their diets have reported some reduction in breakouts. Additionally attempt to limit your intake of processed sugars found in soda drinks or processed foods to try and avoid constriction in blood vessels which can damage skin cells: decreasing the potential triggers for pimples to occur. Finally water intake should be increased to help flush out toxins from the body to avoid overload on our internal systems which could lead to hormonal disruptions triggering blemishes on the skin’s surface.


In conclusion, working out can be beneficial for acne in some ways, such as increasing circulation and reducing stress. However, it’s important to remember that not all forms of exercise are beneficial, and that some may actually make acne worse. Furthermore, it is important to understand that working out alone is unlikely to completely eliminate acne, and a comprehensive skincare routine is necessary to achieve the best results.


The answer to the question “can working out get rid of acne?” is complicated. While regular exercise can certainly help improve skin health, there is no definitive evidence that proves it can completely eradicate acne. That said, exercising regularly has been found to reduce stress and help reduce breakouts by suppressing certain hormones responsible for triggering them. Plus, exercise increases blood flow, which helps improve skin tone and add a natural glow to your complexion. So while there is no one single solution for treating acne, staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a good place to start when looking for ways to prevent breakouts.

Further Research

It is clear that exercise can lead to improved skin health, and can play an important role in improving acne. However, more research is needed to fully understand the beneficial effects of exercising for acne prevention and treatment. For example, further study could take a closer look at the relationship between exercise and specific types of acne lesions, such as active or inactive lesions. Additionally, more research should be done on how certain types of exercise might be better for acne prevention than others. Finally, the role of diet in concerted with exercise should also be further explored to better understand how improving dietary habits could interact positively with physical activity and its potential benefits for skin health.

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