Why Do I Breakout When I Workout?

You’re probably wondering why you breakout when you workout. Here’s a quick explanation of why this happens and how you can prevent it.


Exercising is great for your body and mind, but if you are breaking out after every workout, it can be a serious problem. It’s not normal or healthy to break out from exercising and this article is going to help figure out why.

We will start by discussing what happens when we exercise that can lead to a breakout. We will then talk about ways that you can reduce the occurrence of breakouts after a workout and discuss how we can understand our individual needs better. Finally, we will cover different products and methods you should consider if your breakouts persist. By the end of this article, you should have a greater understanding of why you are breaking out after workouts and how you can prevent those breakouts in the future.

Causes of Skin Breakouts

Many people experience skin breakouts when they exercise, but why does this happen? There can be a number of reasons, from not properly hydrating to the build-up of sweat and dirt. In this section, we will be discussing the common causes of skin breakouts when working out and how to prevent them.


Sweat from exercise can contribute to breakouts in certain areas. Exercise causes the body to naturally produce more sweat and oil, including on the face. This creates a more favorable environment for Acne causing bacteria to grow leading to breakouts in those areas. Additionally, sweat can irritate and inflame the skin which can contribute to breakouts and trigger flare-ups of pre-existing skin conditions such as cystic acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Regular cleansing with a gentle cleanser after exercising or working out can help reduce your risk of breakouts, but it’s important not to overdo it as this could cause irritation and further exacerbate the problem. It may also be beneficial to change into loose fitting clothing after exercising that won’t trap moisture against your skin or encourage further sweating.

Clogged Pores

Clogged pores are a common cause of skin breakouts, particularly when working out. When our pores clog, bacteria can build up and cause pimples and other forms of acne. Clogged pores occur when your skin produces too much sebum (oil), which can become trapped in the hair follicles or mixed with dead skin cells to form clumps. This creates an environment in which the bacteria flourishes and breakouts occur. An excess of sweat produced while exercising can also aggravate clogged pores and make it difficult for your body to release toxins, leading to more frequent breakouts.

Other possible causes of breakout include wearing tight-fitting clothing which does not allow the skin to breath, makeup that is not designed for exercise and also dirt or sweat blocking your pores as you exercise. It is important to remove all dirt and sweat from your skin after exercising and to use skincare products specifically designed for post-workout cleansing. Additionally, ensuring that you wear loose fitting clothing while exercising can help prevent clogged pores due to restricted air flow during exercise. Finally, products with ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide may help unclog your pores in order to prevent further breakouts or acne caused by sweat during exercise.


Bacteria can play an important role in the development of skin breakouts. The warm, sweaty environment caused by exercise is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Even if you shower after working out, bacteria can still remain on the surface of your skin that may not be removed by a regular showering routine. Certain types of skin treatments can also increase the risk of developing a breakout. For example, some body washes and cosmetics contain oils, fragrances and other ingredients that may cause irritation when exposed to sweat during exercise. Additionally, friction caused by your clothing or equipment can make existing breakouts worse due to increased bacterial development on irritated surfaces. Wearing synthetic materials that don’t allow moisture to escape can also trap sweat next to your skin for extended periods of time, increasing the risk for infection or breakout formation. Taking measures such as wearing clothes made from breathable fabrics, showering immediately after exercising or using antibacterial washes—if exercise-related breakouts become an issue—will reduce the risk of developing further breakouts.

Prevention Tips

Working out can often cause breakouts for many people, but with the right prevention techniques, you can keep your skin healthy and clear even after a strenuous workout. From proper skincare and nutrition to wearing the right workout clothes, these prevention tips will help you keep away the dreaded breakouts. Read on to find out more.

Shower Immediately After Workouts

Taking a cool or lukewarm shower after working out is important in order to remove any sweat, dirt, and impurities that can clog your pores. Additionally, your body heat mixed with these impurities can lead to an overproduction of sebum, which is responsible for causing blemishes. To prevent this from happening, it’s best to rinse off your body with water as soon as possible. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser on the affected areas and pat your skin dry with a clean towel afterwards.

It’s also helpful to include an exfoliant and moisturizer in your post-workout skincare routine. Exfoliants help remove any dead skin cells on the surface of the skin which can lead to blemishes when combined with sweat and bacteria from workouts. Moisturizer will help keep your skin hydrated while replenishing vital nutrients that may have been depleted through exercise-related sweat loss. Additionally you should use a noncomedogenic moisturizer which means it won’t block pores leading to breakouts and look for products that are specifically designed for acne-prone skin.

Wash Your Clothes After Workouts

Exercising is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, but it can lead to some unfortunate cosmetic side effects. If you are noticing more frequent breakouts after physical activity, one of the steps you should take is to wash your clothes regularly. The combination of sweat and overused workout gear can clog pores, resulting in blemishes on your face and body.

Try to change into clean clothes for every workout, or if that’s not possible, then launder any worn garments as soon as possible. That way, the sweat and bacteria from your last session won’t contribute to the development of new pimples on your skin. Make sure you’re using an appropriate detergent that won’t irritate sensitive areas like the face or neck. Additionally, washing with warm (not hot) water may be beneficial in terms of effectively removing dirt and oils that build up during exercise.

Applying these simple steps can help keep skin clear during active times and prevent further outbreaks -so don’t forget to wash those sweaty clothes after a workout!

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes

It is beneficial to wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when you exercise. Tight-fitting gym clothes can cause friction against your skin which can lead to irritation and ultimately, breakouts. Choose breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen whenever possible, as this will ensure that sweat and bacteria do not become trapped against your skin. Additionally, be sure to shower immediately following a workout to remove any buildup of sweat, dirt, and oil that may have built up over the course of your activity. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria that could lead to acne on sensitive areas.

Avoid Heavy Makeup

When exercising or playing sports, it’s best to avoid heavy makeup and other cosmetic products. Makeup traps sweat, bacteria, oil and dirt against the skin that can cause breakouts. These substances can clog the pores and create irritation upon contact with sweat and oils from your skin. If you need to wear makeup during exercise or sporting activities, opt for lightweight formulas without pore-clogging ingredients such as mineral oil, petrolatum and beeswax.

It’s also important to cleanse your face before and after a workout – double cleansing is always an option as well! Cleansing will remove sweat, dirt, bacteria and any traces of makeup that may have collected throughout the workout session. Make sure to use a good cleanser that minimizes irritation for your skin type. For those with oily or blemish prone skin types – look out for formulations with salicylic acid or buffered glycolic acid to help gently exfoliate without over drying the skin.

Use Non-Comedogenic Products

When you sweat during a workout, it can lead to breakouts. To reduce your risk, use skin care and hair products that are labeled as “non-comedogenic.” This means that the product does not contain ingredients such as heavy oils, waxes and pore clogging ingredients which can cause breakouts.

To choose non-comedogenic products:
-Use oil-free cleansers when washing your face before working out.
-Opt for water based cleansing products instead of creams or oil based makeup removers.
-Check the label of your body care and hair care products to make sure they are noncomedogenic
-Choose lightweight moisturizers that don’t clog pores but also give you enough protection to guard against dryness caused by excessive sweating.
-Look for sunscreens with an SPF rating greater than 30 which gives you sufficient protection while not blocking the pores on your skin.


In conclusion, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of breakouts caused by workouts, but it is important to take steps to reduce or prevent them. Avoiding sweat and sebum stimulating ingredients in your skin care products may help reduce breakouts, as well as taking the time to properly cleanse your skin after a workout. It is also important to ensure that you are adequately hydrated, as dehydration may increase the risk of breakouts from physical activity. Taking all of these steps may help ensure that your workouts leave you feeling good and healthy, both inside and out.

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