Will Working Out Cause Acne?

If you’re working out regularly, you might be concerned about the impact it could have on your skin. Will working out cause acne?


Regular physical activity can improve our physical and mental health, but for some, working out can also lead to an increase of acne. Acne is a common skin condition that can range from mild pimples to severe cysts or nodules, which are formed by clogged pores and abnormal bacterial growth. Working out is an important part of our overall health and well-being, so it’s natural for people to be concerned about the potential side effects.

In this article we will explore how exercising plays a role in skin health and whether or not it could be contributing to any existing blemishes. We’ll look at potential causes of post-workout acne as well as tips on how to treat and prevent breakouts while you’re hitting the gym.

What Causes Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While there are many potential causes of acne, the most common triggers are hormones, bacteria, excess oil and dead skin cells. Other potential causes of acne can include stress, lifestyle choices, genetics and medications. Keeping these factors in mind, let’s discuss whether working out can cause acne.


Acne is often caused by an overproduction of hormones becoming unbalanced. Whether due to stress, hormonal changes during puberty or taking certain medications, the overproduction of hormones often leads to an increase in skin oils and inflammation. This inflammation clogs the pores and results in acne.

Working out may lead to acne flares because it increases the production of testosterone, which can make the oil glands block pores and cause pimples. Similarly, sweat produced from working out can also trap bacteria in pores, resulting in more breakouts. Exercise can also increase cortisol levels which leads to increased sebum production that causes acne and pimples. Additionally, exercise-induced sweat can mix with dirt and oil on exposed skin leading to further irritation, redness and clogged pores.

The best way to prevent this type of acne is to take measures such as cleansing your face before a workout session or using oil-free products that keep your skin clean while exercising. Additionally, it’s important to practice good hygiene by washing before and after working out as well as changing out workout clothes right after a session. When possible opt for loose fitting clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton that allow for breathability during workouts but if necessary wear synthetic materials like polyester or spandex that also allow for elasticity while being gentle on the antibacterial properties of skin when attempting heavier regimens or when performing aerobic activities whether outdoors or indoors such as yoga or Pilates among others..


Stress is a leading factor in the onset of acne. When your body is under emotional or physical stress, it responds by releasing hormones like cortisol, which can cause skin cells to multiply more rapidly and create clogged pores. This leads to blemishes and breakouts. Additionally, stress can reduce the effectiveness of important immunity-boosting agents like white blood cells. This makes it more difficult for the body to fight off acne-causing bacteria on its own.

People who live a highly stressful lifestyle may be particularly prone to developing severe cases of acne, as their bodies are constantly producing these hormone levels that can trigger pimples. It’s important to manage stress through regular exercise, mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation, and finding healthy sources of relaxation. Reducing stress can also help improve other aspects of your health including sleep quality, mental clarity, and overall well-being


Diet is thought to be one of the causes of acne, although the research remains inconclusive. Studies have suggested that certain foods, such as processed and sugary foods, may be linked to the development of acne. One idea is that frequent consumption of sugar may trigger insulin spikes which would in turn increase the production of skin oils (sebum) and thereby lead to swollen pimples and spots.

Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, may help reduce inflammation from within which can help reduce breakouts on the skin. Eating healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) found in fish, walnuts or chia seeds may also help lower inflammation levels and could improve acne symptoms over time.

Furthermore, eating a balanced diet with adequate protein intake can prevent chronic inflammation that could contribute to the development of spots and blemishes on the skin. A balanced diet should include all essential macro-nutrients including carbohydrates for energy; proteins for building muscle; fats for storing energy; minerals like calcium for bones; vitamins like C, B12 & D for supporting immunity – all in addition to being mindful to drink plenty of water throughout the day! Finally it is key to speak with a health professional if any changes need to be made on your dietary choices whilst managing acne!


It is important to maintain good hygiene in order to reduce the risk of acne. Poor hygiene can make existing acne worse, creating a cycle of exacerbation. To help minimize the risk of developing acne, follow these tips for proper skin care and hygiene:

-Wash face with mild soap and warm water twice daily.
-Be gentle when washing your face – scrubbing or over-washing can irritate skin.
-Avoid picking or squeezing pimples as this can make them worse or spread bacteria to other areas of the face and body.
-Change pillowcases at least every three days to reduce oil build up from dirt and sweat on fabric surfaces.
-Shower with lukewarm water after exercise or perspiring activities, including sports that may require protective headgear or use of oils or sprays.
-Consider using an over the counter spot treatment containing calamine lotion to manage irritation caused by a breakout.

How Does Working Out Affect Acne?

Working out can sometimes have a positive effect on acne, but it can also make it worse. Exercise can help to reduce stress and boost endorphins, both of which can help to decrease acne breakouts. However, overworking your body can trigger the production of testosterone, which can lead to an increase in hormones that can cause acne. Let’s take a closer look at how working out affects acne.


Sweat is one of the main factors associated with exercise-induced acne. Sweating activates the sweat glands, which then secrete oils and waste products. This can create a favorable situation for bacterial growth and the accumulation of dead skin cells in your sweat pores, leading to blockages that cause pimples and other forms of acne. Additionally, bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments so exercising can further increase your risk for acne breakouts. It’s important to note that sweat can be caused by activities other than exercise; any activity that raises your body temperature can cause your body to sweat and create a breeding ground for bacteria.

However, it’s important to note that not all sweating is created equal. Excessive sweating combined with dirty clothing or even dirty equipment at the gym can contribute to breakouts. Therefore, the key is to keep yourself clean while engaging in physical activities that make you perspire. Make sure you shower after workouts, wear clean clothes (or change out of sweaty clothes right away) and use a towel if you need it during exercise. Proper hygiene will help reduce your risk of developing exercise-induced acne and other skin problems due to sweating or excessive humidity at the gym.


Physical activity, such as working out or playing sports, can have an impact on acne. Friction from tight-fitting clothes and/or workout equipment can rub and irritate skin that’s already prone to breakouts. The combination of sweat, heat, bacteria and pressure on the skin can block pores and cause a breakout. Additionally, exercise often causes individuals to sweat more than normal – exacerbating the potential for blocked pores and other forms of irritation.

To reduce this risk, one should always opt for loose-fitting clothing during workouts rather than tight-fitting gear that sticks to your body as you sweat. Trying to stay dry while exercising is also a good idea – if you are unable to keep yourself dry while working out it is recommended that you shower or change clothes after exercise to avoid further irritation of skin. In addition, equipment such as helmets should be cleaned regularly by following the manufacturer’s instructions about sanitation protocols if regular breakouts occur when using this kind of gear during activities. Not cleaning helmets properly may result in the build-up of bacteria which can worsen existing breakouts or even cause additional ones to form over time. Taking additional steps before and after workouts will help reduce friction-related acne flare-ups from occurring in the future.

Aggravating Existing Acne

Exercise increases blood circulation throughout the body and can increase the rate at which sweat is produced. Sweat is composed mostly of salt and water, but it can also contain debris from makeup, bacteria and sebum (oils produced by the skin). This combination of sweat, bacteria, oil and makeup can clog pores leading to further breakouts and aggravating existing acne. Exercise also causes an elevation in testosterone levels which has been linked to exacerbation of acne symptoms in adults. Therefore, athletes should take extra precautions when staying active; such as wearing loose fitting clothes that wick away moisture from their skin. Additionally, athletes should opt for habits such as showering directly after activity or using a light cleanser to keep skin clean before exercising to prevent dirt and oil build-up on the skin that may lead to further breakouts.

Tips for Avoiding Acne Breakouts While Working Out

Working out can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health. It can also help to make you look and feel more attractive. However, it can also cause acne breakouts if proper care isn’t taken. In this section, we’ll explore some ways to minimize the risk of acne breakouts while you work out.

Wear Loose Clothing

When working out and especially during activities where you are actively sweating, it is important to wear loose clothing to avoid any chafing or friction on your skin. Tight-fitting clothes, such as leggings or bicycle shorts that fit snugly around the body, can create an undesired trapping of sweat and bacteria and increase your risk of experiencing a breakout. Wearing breathable fabrics such as cotton materials allow the skin to stay dry throughout vigorous activity. Additionally, avoid wearing clothing more than once between washings as dirt and bacteria can accumulate significantly over multiple wearings.

Clean Skin Before and After Working Out

Before beginning any physical activity, it is important to make sure your skin is clean and freshly washed. Sweating accumulates dirt, oils, and bacteria which can clog and irritate the pores. Gently wash your face using a mild cleanser designed for acne prevention before exercising. Allow the skin to air dry thoroughly before beginning your workout to keep skin bacteria free.

After exercise is complete, it’s just as important to wash away sweat and dirt before they have a chance to irritate your skin. Always use a mild cleanser with no added oils or fragrances. Don’t scrub your face or try to remove any breakouts — scrubbing can spread bacteria out of control. Rinse away the cleanser thoroughly with lukewarm water then gently pat your face dry with a clean towel or disposable cloths like those used in salons. If you are sitting in an air-conditioned room after finishing up your workout, make sure you apply moisturizer for extra protection from clogged pores — but be sure it does not contain synthetic fragrances as this will cause more irritation than help prevent it!

Avoid Touching Your Face

Working out can be beneficial for many aspects of our health, but unfortunately it can also increase the risk of acne breakouts. Sweat and hormones produced during exercise can make skin oilier, leading to blocked pores and pimples. However, there are a few tips that you can follow to help minimize this risk while still enjoying the benefits of exercise.

One of the most important tips to remember is to avoid touching your face while working out. Our hands come into contact with a lot of different surfaces throughout our day, which makes them prime carriers for everyday dirt and oils that can transfer onto our skin when we touch it. So when you’re in the gym, try your best not to rest your face in your hands or rub any sweat off too often – this will help keep dirt and grime away from your skin and make sure it doesn’t get clogged up with bacteria from constantly touching it.

Clearing sweat from your face throughout workouts is also important; not only will you feel much more comfortable but less oils and sebum will remain on your skin’s surface if they are wiped away regularly. Try using an absorbent cloth or paper towel to lightly dab across your forehead periodically throughout exercise instead of wiping or rubbing vigorously across the area; rubbing too hard can cause irritation which could lead to further breakouts.

Use Non-Comedogenic Products

It is not just sweat that can cause acne breakouts during workouts. Many people also bother their already-sensitive skin with a variety of products and irritants. If you want to make sure that your workout doesn’t result in unwanted blemishes, use non-comedogenic products on your skin. These are products that are specifically designed to not clog your pores, which helps reduce the chances of acne and other skin problems appearing after exercising.

Non-comedogenic products can help limit the amount of sweat, dirt, and oil buildup on your skin while you exercise. They come in many forms such as ointments, sunscreen, face wash, and moisturizers. To use them effectively during a workout session, it is best to apply the product 30 minutes before you start working out so it has enough time to be absorbed by your skin and do its job properly. Additionally, make sure to wipe off any excess product on your skin with a clean towel when you’re finished exercising; the longer these products stay on your skin after a workout the more prone to blemishes and breakouts you are.


In conclusion, although exercise can cause acne, increased sweat and friction are not the only reasons it is caused. If a person exercises but takes the appropriate steps to manage their skin health, it is unlikely that an increase in physical activity will cause them to have more breakouts. Through a combination of preventive measures and proper hygiene following exercise, individuals can limit the risks associated with working out and breakouts.

It is important to take measures to minimize the risk of exercise-induced acne. Individuals should consider wearing loose-fitting clothing such as gym shorts or tank tops made from breathable materials such as cotton and lycra. They should also avoid overheating during workouts by taking rest breaks between sets or shortening the duration of their workout if needed. Additionally, showering both before and after a workout can help remove sweat, dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells that can clog pores and irritate skin. Finally, using oil-free moisturizers or cleansers specifically designed for fighting acne may help keep breakouts under control during physical activities.

Checkout this video:

Similar Posts