Does Your Workout Routine Cause Pimples?

If you’re someone who struggles with acne, you might be wondering if your workout routine is to blame. Here’s what you need to know.

Causes of Acne

Acne is an incredibly common problem that can affect people of all ages. It can show up on the face, back, chest, and other areas of the body. There are many potential causes of acne, such as hormone imbalance, poor diet, and even certain workout routines. In this article, we’ll look at all of the potential causes of acne and whether or not your workout routine could be contributing to your breakouts.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances can cause an increase in the production of sebum, which can lead to acne. During puberty or other times of hormonal change such as pregnancy and stress, your body produces more testosterone, which stimulates the overproduction of the oil glands in your skin. While everyone produces some sebum to keep your skin lubricated and moist, having too much of it can cause blockages to form beneath your skin. Bacteria then builds up and causes inflammation leading to acne breakouts. Hormonal imbalances also cause a decrease in glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which normally keep breakouts under control by maintaining healthy hydration levels and for the cells below the surface of your skin adhere properly, preventing blockages from forming. Other factors that can contribute to hormonal imbalances leading to acne are genetic predisposition, certain medications and diet.

Excess Sweating

Excess sweating, or hyperhidrosis, can be a contributing factor to acne. It is important to note that sweat itself is not the cause of acne but rather the dirt, bacteria and oils that are present in sweat which can lead to plugged pores and acne. To avoid this type of acne, it is essential for individuals who sweat a great deal due to exercise or other lifestyle factors to properly cleanse their skin and body afterwards.

The warm temperature and damp environment around the wrists, neck and back areas are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and dirt which can encourage clogged pores with blackheads or whiteheads as well as inflamed pimples. Additionally, athletes who use headbands to keep their hair out of their face are at greater risk as they trap moisture against the skin which can lead to further contamination.

To help minimize breakouts caused by excess sweating it is important to wear breathable fabrics while exercising such as cotton or linen instead of synthetic materials such as polyester. Always bathe after a workout in order remove sweat, dirt, oils and bacteria from your skin’s surface. Additionally, making sure hair care products like gels don’t come into contact with your face should be a priority if you are prone to breakouts from workouts.


Stress can directly affect hormone levels and increase oil production on the skin, which could lead to acne. Studies have shown that overstressing can trigger an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in a cascade of events that cause inflammation and an influx of chemistry in your skin, leading to breakouts.

Trying to find ways to manage stress can be difficult, but it’s essential for reducing acne and maintaining overall skin health. An effective strategy involves finding ways to relax such as deep breathing, yoga and other mind-body activities. Additionally, eating healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids may help regulate cortisol levels while providing antioxidants and hydration to the skin. Taking critical steps toward managing stress will not only prevent very severe acne conditions but also improve your overall wellbeing.

Working out is one of the most important aspects of staying fit and healthy. Exercise helps us stay strong, boosts our energy levels, and of course, gives us an overall sense of well-being. But did you know it can also have an effect on your skin? In this article, we’ll look at the link between exercise and acne and how you can reduce any pimple-causing risks.

Sweat and Acne

Exercise has plenty of benefits, both for our health and mental wellbeing — however, can it cause breakouts? Sweat can clog the pores, which are already semi-clogged by sebum (oil) produced by the skin. When excess sebum combines with sweat, dead skin cells and other dirt particles that are present on the surface of the skin, it can lead to inflammation and an increase in breakouts.

Furthermore, tight or abrasive workout clothing that is made from synthetic fabrics such as nylon or spandex can rub against your skin and cause irritation which increases your risk of an angry breakout. Over time, this type of fabric chafes against your body and until a reaction occurs — commonly in the form of pimples. To limit this type of irritation, wear loose-fitting clothing made with natural fibers such as cotton when exercising.

Additionally, it’s important to ensure you thoroughly cleanse your skin after each session to remove all sweat buildup as any bacteria or sweat remaining on the surface can feed an escalating breakout epidemic. It is also recommended to change out of sweaty exercise clothes after going out for a run or hitting the gym so they don’t trap any bacteria which could cause more harm than good.

Hormones and Acne

Increasingly, research suggests that hormones can play a major role in the development of acne. A variety of hormones can have an effect on the skin, which is why many treatments focus on reducing hormonal activity, such as topical creams or medications that use the hormone androgen to reduce sebaceous gland activity (such as antibiotics).

Exercise may also have an effect on hormones and skin health; certain types of exercise involve more hormone production than others, while some types lead to reduced levels of certain hormones within the body. For example, increased testosterone levels may stimulate more sebaceous gland activity and therefore lead to greater acne complications. In addition, using oral contraceptives can result in an increase in certain androgens which stimulate oil and sweat production—all things which can potentially contribute to breakouts.

It’s important for individuals who work out frequently or who wish to incorporate exercise into their daily routine to understand how their chosen type of physical activity may influence their skin health. To minimize the potential impact from hormones associated with physical activity on acne, individuals may want to opt for low-impact activities such as gentle yoga or swimming over high-intensity strength exercises like running or CrossFit for example.

Stress and Acne

Stress has been shown to be a contributing factor in acne flare-ups. The pressure of exercise can cause an increase in the release of hormones, such as cortisol, which can have an effect on the skin. For example, when our bodies perceive stress from exercise, it produces sebum which is a substance that helps prevent dryness. While this process is beneficial under normal circumstances, an excess of sebum can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

It is important to note that not every person suffers side effects from exercising – some people do not even experience any increase in breakouts after working out. However, those with oily skin or who exercise vigorously may notice more acne outbreaks post-workout. In order to reduce post-exercise breakouts it is important to take steps prior and during activity such as taking showers before and after activity, wearing sweat-proof makeup if necessary, avoiding oil-based products on the skin before or after workouts and washing face with cool water following workout sessions if possible. Additionally it may also be beneficial to keep blood sugar levels regulated properly by eating balanced meals before partaking in strenuous physical activity.

Exercise Routines That Can Help

Getting into a regular workout routine can be a great way to help improve your skin health and decrease the chances of developing pimples or acne. Working out can help to control stress, which is often a contributing factor for acne flare-ups. Exercise can also help to improve your circulation and increase skin oxygenation which can help to reduce inflammation and acne. Let’s take a look at some exercise routines that could help to improve your skin health and reduce pimples.

Low-Impact Exercises

Low-impact exercises are ideal for those who want to get physical activity without straining muscles or joints. Low-impact exercises are any type of activities that places minimal stress on the body. For instance, jogging and high-intensity dance classes often have high-impact movements that may cause bodily harm, but low-impact exercises produce less health risks. Examples of low-impact acitivites include walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, pilates and tai chi.

Low impact forms of exercise do not put as much strain on your body as compared to high impact activities. While these workouts may be gentle, they can still provide an effective workout and can be a great way to stretch and strengthen your entire body. Low intensity exercise focuses on improving your strength & stability through gentle movements with minimal joint stress while delivering a full body workout. Benefits of low intensity exercise include improved flexibility & balance, improved core strength & posture and reduced risk of injury & strain. Low impact exercises also have several mental benefits such as reducing stress levels from the release of endorphins which cause you to feel energized after the workout session and improve overall mood.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an increasingly popular form of exercise that has been scientifically proven to provide many health benefits in less time than traditional steady-state cardiovascular exercises. It typically involves alternate between short bursts of intense exertion and periods of rest or low intensity activity. The intensity and duration of the intervals can be adjusted according to fitness level, and HIIT has been found to be effective for a wide variety of goals such as fat loss, strength building, improved cardiovascular health, improved quality of life, and overall improved athletic performance.

To achieve the most benefits with HIIT you must keep your heart rate at approximately 80 percent to 95 percent of maximum rate throughout the workout. This can be accomplished through monitoring your heart rate during the workout or through targeting a perceived effort rating based on how hard you are working (1=very light; 10= very heavy). For example, if you choose to perform a HIIT workout consisting of 20 second sprints followed by 40 second jogging intervals for a total of 15 minutes then it would look something like this: Sprint 20 seconds (effort rating 8-10), slow jog for 40 seconds (effort rating 4-5), repeat.

HIIT is an efficient and effective way to reap the many rewards that regular exercise offers without sacrificing hours upon hours in the gym. However it is important to note that because these types of workouts are so intense you may need additional rest time between sessions for optimal results as well as recovery from physical fatigue associated with tougher workouts such as these.

Strength Training

Strength training is an important part of any fitness regimen, including a routine that helps to reduce or prevent the occurrence of pimples. By building and maintaining muscle mass, your body will burn more calories and become stronger. Strength training exercises can be done with free weights, machines, or resistance bands and should include a wide variety of exercises to target different muscle groups. Exercises that may be recommended as part of an anti-pimple exercise routine include squats, lunges, shoulder presses, chest presses, deadlifts and rows. Reps should generally be done in sets of 8-12 repetitions depending on the particular exercise.

It’s important to note that for strength training exercises to have the most impact on your overall health and cause less breakouts, it’s important to rest at least 48 hours between working the same muscle group so that they have time to heal and rebuild themselves. Rest days are also important for general recovery so make sure you plan those into your workout schedule as well if you’re looking to prevent or reduce pimples.

Tips to Avoid Acne Breakouts

After a hard workout, the last thing you want to worry about is an acne breakout. Sweat, makeup and oils from your skin can all clog your pores and cause breakouts. Luckily, there are some simple tips you can follow to help avoid acne breakouts after your workout. In this article, we will discuss what causes acne and provide some tips for avoiding breakouts in the future.

Wear Loose Clothing

Wearing loose clothing and padded bras that don’t rub against the skin helps to avoid sweat clogging the pores and causing breakouts. During your workouts, it’s best to wear light layers of breathable fabrics, such as 100% cotton, in order to reduce sweat and block UV rays from your skin. When working out or playing sports, ensure you are wearing comfortable clothing that fits properly as a tight fitting outfit can cause friction which leads to irritation causing more breakouts. Furthermore, ensuring you change out of your workout clothes shortly after exercise is complete can drastically reduce the risk of acne breakouts. Additionally, washing sweaty clothes immediately with anti-acne product lessens the probability of clogged pores due to sweat containing bacteria or oils produced by overactive sebaceous glands.

Wash Immediately After Exercise

It is crucial to wash your skin as soon as possible after a workout session. Sweat and dirt have a tendency to accumulate and remain on the skin, increasing the likelihood of acne breakouts. Choose a cleanser that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, both of which are gentle yet effective at removing debris that could cause pimples. Additionally, avoid using fragranced shower gels or soaps, as this can further irritate your delicate skin. Be sure to pat dry with a clean towel following each shower and resist the urge to scrub heavily into the skin — gentler motions are less likely to worsen any pre-existing blemishes or create new ones.

Avoid Touching Your Face

One habit many people fall into unknowingly is touching your face more often than necessary. Throughout the day, your hands are exposed to a variety of bacteria and germs, making it easy to transfer oils and bacteria onto your face. Research has actually proven that face-touching increases acne breakouts. Therefore, try to be mindful of any instances when you have the urge to touch your face or pick at existing pimples or blackheads before they heal.

It is recommended that you wash your hands often and avoid frequently picking at existing pimples as this can lead to a cyst down the road. It’s also important to invest in some kind of skin care system that works for you — whether it be a simple cleanser matched with moisturizer, or an entire comprehensive regimen tailored to oily skin. Regardless of how diligent you are with washing and moisturizing, if you don’t reduce touching your face, it may prove difficult for those products work effectively against acne.


In conclusion, one of the most common causes of post-workout pimples is sweat that is trapped against the skin. This sweat can block pores, causing acne. Other causes include hormonal imbalances and the friction caused when your skin rubs against workout clothing. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to minimize your risk for post-workout breakouts.

First, shower as soon as possible after completing your workout, using a mild soap and warm water to help remove sweat and bacteria that could cause acne. If possible, change into clean clothes after exercising — this will help reduce friction on your skin and prevent pore blockage. Finally, speak to your doctor if you’re experiencing worsening breakouts after beginning a new exercise routine to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing these symptoms.

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