Does Working Out Really Create Acne?

If you’re someone who hits the gym regularly, you might have noticed that your skin doesn’t always look its best afterwards. In fact, you might even have more acne than usual. So, does working out really create acne?


It’s long been assumed that working out can lead to breakouts, but is this always the case? While long and strenuous workouts can lead to sweat and oil buildup on your skin, preventing acne by exercising regularly may be simpler than you think.

When you work out, your pores open up and become more susceptible to dirt and bacteria that can cause acne. Sweat glands secrete more oils when physical activity increases, which then mix with bacteria causing breakouts. On the other hand, regular exercise could have beneficial effects on skin due to increased circulation of oxygen and nutrients.

This article will take an in-depth look at how workout affects the skin and explores ways to reduce breakouts caused by exercise. We will discuss possible causes for post-workout blemishes, as well as strategies for preventing them. By understanding the relationship between working out and acne, you can make sure your routine benefits your skin without causing any additional breakouts.

What Causes Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can be caused by a range of different things, such as hormonal changes, stress, genetics, and even certain medications. Another potential cause of acne is exercise, but does it really create acne? Let’s take a look and see.

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalance is one of the most common causes of acne. When our bodies are not producing enough hormones, it can affect our skin, leading to the increased production of sebum, an oily substance secreted by the skin. The overproduction of sebum increases the likelihood of bacteria multiplying in pores, especially on your face, neck, chest and back — also referred to as “acne prone areas.” In women, fluctuations in hormones that accompany puberty and even monthly cycles can lead to breakouts. Many adults are also prone to acne due to hormone-related imbalances that occur during stressful life events or due to underlying medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). In both men and women fluctuations in testosterone levels can cause breakouts; for example men who work out often can experience elevated levels of testosterone which leads to increased acne breakouts.


Bacteria on the skin is a major cause of acne. P. acnes is an anaerobic bacteria that lives on the skin and feeds on sebum, a type of oil secreted by the sebaceous glands. When there is too much sebum and P. acnes, it causes inflammation and leads to acne breakouts. The inflammation caused by acne can further increase because of sweat from exercise or, in some cases, the friction caused by workout clothing or equipment.

Another common cause of acne among adults who regularly hit the gym is “maskne” or “acne mechanica,” which occurs when sweat accumulates under breathing masks during summer workouts or when mask-wearers are out exercising in cold temperatures during winter months.

The best way to combat bacterial-induced acne caused by exercise is to keep your skin clean before and after every workout session through proper hygiene routines like washing your face with a cleanser containing salicylic acid-based formulas. Also, avoiding touching your face can help keep bacteria away from the pores and reduce breakouts due to bacteria accumulation from hands on your skin from sweating activities in the gym or outdoors.


One of the most common causes of acne is stress. Stress can be brought on by a number of different things, including physical activity. Excessive physical activity or overexertion can lead to increased production of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that may cause inflammation in the body, leading to more breakouts. Additionally, sweat from physical activity can increase your risk of developing acne.

Stress isn’t just related to physical activity; mental stress experiences can also fuel acne flare-ups. The mind-body connection is strong and when we’re feeling stressed or anxious, it can manifest itself in our skin as breakouts. It’s important to take steps to reduce stress in your life such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises which can help keep you relaxed and healthy both mentally and physically.

Does Working Out Cause Acne?

Many of us love going to the gym and taking up physical exercise to stay fit and healthy. But have you ever wondered if all that sweat and heat can cause acne? The answer to this question is not so straightforward, as there are both pros and cons to working out and its effect on your skin. Read on to get a better understanding of whether working out really causes acne.


Excess sweat produced from physical activity is one potential contributor to acne flare-ups. Sweat helps release oils and other substances from the skin, which can become trapped in the pores and clog them. Clogged pores are breeding grounds for inflammation and infection which, if left untreated, can result in breakouts. So, it stands to reason that preventing sweat build-up can help reduce the risk of developing acne.

The key is to make sure you’re cleaning your skin properly both before and after a workout. It’s important to remove excess oils that could contribute to clogged pores but also avoid triggering any new acne forms by using harsh or drying cleansing products or scrubs. It’s also important to use a medicated treatment if you are suffering from existing acne flare-ups as this will help reduce inflammation and prevent any further damage to your skin due to friction during your workout session.

In addition, it’s good practice (before and after) to wear loose fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics like cotton that allow you skin space to breathe and don’t trap heat on your body. The more heat created against your body due poor ventilation of perspired sweat means the more likely that new breakouts will occur surrounding areas such as neck chest shoulders arms face etc.. To further help prevent irritations, some cleaners contain special ingredients like salicylic acid or witch hazel which help fight off extra oils and ensure cleaner digestion throughout any physical activity routine time period duration.


Exercise, or physical activity, can cause acne flare-ups due to friction. When you move your body during exercise, clothing and equipment such as headbands can rub against your skin and create friction. This friction can irritate the skin and cause an acne flare-up. It is important to take measures to reduce friction when exercising to prevent or diminish an acne breakout.​

The type of fabric of your clothing can also play a role in an acne outbreak resulting from exercise. Choose clothes made with fabrics that are designed to wick away sweat, such as sweat wicking materials which promote air circulation as well as smooth material such as cotton spandex because they are less likely to be abrasive on the skin than other fabrics.

In addition, it is important to make sure you are adequately hydrated before and after exercise, as adequate hydration promotes healthy bowel movements and helps detoxify the body while preventing dehydration which could in turn lead to acne flare-ups due to your skin’s lack of flexibility when dry. Wash affected areas gently with lukewarm water and a mild soap after each workout session as well as avoiding touching any affected facial areas with unwashed hands throughout the day too in order for the skin to remain clean before being exposed by external damaging bacteria again.

Dirty Gym Equipment

The short answer is no, working out does not cause acne. But it can certainly make existing acne worse or create new breakouts for several reasons. When exercising, sweat and bacteria mix together to form a sticky combination on your skin and gym equipment that can easily clog pores and cause breakouts. When visiting a gym, it is especially important to take extra care in making sure the equipment you use is clean before use and to remember to clean your own skin after a workout too by wiping down your body with a towel or using an antibacterial wipes and washing your hands regularly.

Unclean gym equipment can also lead the spread of certain bacterias such as staphylococcus epidermidis, which is often transferred from one person’s skin to another’s via shared towels or exercise equipment. These bacterias can further irritate existing acne, leading to more redness, swelling and blocked pores resulting in breakouts.

In order to minimize these factors while working out, it is important to be consistent in practicing good hygiene both before and after working out including wiping down gym equipment before use with antibacterial cleansers such as Clorox wipes , wearing breathable clothing such as moisture wicking materials (which will help wick away sweat) , showering shortly after finishing a workout sessionand washing your face twice daily with a mild cleanser following every workout session. Taking these additional precautions can help ensure that any breakouts caused by dirty gym equipment are minimized or avoided altogether in order for you to achieve your fitness goals without sacrificing the health of your skin.

How to Prevent Acne from Working Out

For many people, working out can be an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But does working out really create acne? The potential for exercise-induced acne is a real concern for some, but the good news is that it’s possible to reduce the risk with a few simple steps. In this article, we’ll discuss how to prevent acne from working out and provide some tips to keep your face looking fresh.

Shower Immediately After Working Out

Showering immediately after working out is an important step in preventing acne from occurring after exercising. Bacteria, dirt, and sweat accumulate on the skin during your workout and should be washed away as soon as possible to prevent the formation of breakouts. While sweating is beneficial because it helps to flush out toxins, it can also clog pores and cause acne if not properly cleaned off your skin right away. Cleansing with a gentle cleanser or face wash cannot be stressed enough when it comes to warding off post-workout breakouts. It’s also important to remember to replace your gym towel often as dirt, bacteria and oils can accumulate on them over time.

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing

When working out, it is important that you wear loose-fitting clothes made of natural materials such as cotton. Tight fabrics can rub against the skin and cause irritation, leading to breakouts. Additionally, synthetic fabrics often trap heat and sweat against the skin which can worsen acne. To prevent breakouts due to working out, it is best to find clothes specifically designed for comfort and performance, such as those made with Dry-Tech™ fabric or lightweight cotton blends.

Also, remember to change out of your sweaty workout clothes immediately after exercising so that your skin can breathe. If you need to stay in your workout clothing for a longer period of time (for example while running errands), make sure you shower quickly afterwards to keep your skin clean and clear. Showering immediately after exercise will help remove any dirt or bacteria that may have accumulated during the workout session which can increase the risk of developing acne.

Clean Your Gym Equipment

Working out and keeping fit is a great way to stay healthy and look your best. However, many people complain that working out triggers breakouts, leading to an increase in acne. To prevent this from happening, it is important to keep your gym equipment clean.

When you work out on gym equipment, dirt and bacteria can build up on the surface. This can clog your skin pores, causing acne flare-ups. To keep your skin clear from breakouts, try wiping down the equipment after each use with an antibacterial wipe or a towel soaked in warm water with soap. Make sure to pay close attention to areas like handles, seats, armrests and foot pedals.

It is also important to make sure the materials used on any exercise machines are non-irritating for skin contact. Replace any rough or scratchy fabrics with softer ones that don’t rub against your skin during a workout session as these can cause irritation or an allergic reaction, leading to potential acne breakouts.

Finally, avoid touching active acne spots when using gym equipment as this can cause them spread or worsen existing spots. Keeping yourself clean before and after every sweat session is important — shower right away following a workout session so sweat doesn’t linger on your body for too long and potentially lead to breakouts later!


In conclusion, it’s clear that exercising can cause acne in some individuals, but the extent to which this occurs is highly individualized. While new research and studies are ongoing in the area of exercise-induced acne, the best current advice for those who experience such breakouts is to maintain a healthy lifestyle by avoiding overtraining, following a balanced diet and keeping up regular skin care. Additionally, practice good hygiene before and after workouts and avoid touching your skin while doing activities like lifting weights. If you’re worried about exercise-induced acne, talk to your dermatologist about strategies that may help reduce or prevent breakouts.

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