Does Working Out Cause Acne? Can Sweating Be the Reason?


The goal for many at the gym is to become
more fit and look better. But what if exercising, although makes your body look better, also
causes your face to break out? Does working out cause acne?
Acne is formed when hair follicles, also known as pores, gets clogged up by dead skin cells
and the hair-lubricating oil, called sebum, gets trapped and builds up within the pore.
Hungry anaerobic bacteria feeds off the fatty acids found in the sebum and causes an infection.
The pore then swells and produces your conventional pimple.
Where exercise comes in, predominantly resistance training such as lifting weights, is by increasing
testosterone levels within your body. About 5% of your testosterone, especially the ones
in your hair follicles, reacts with an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase and converts testosterone
into DHT, which is a hormone linked to increasing sebum secretion. More DHT, more sebum, more
clogged pores! But many studies found that, yes it’s true that resistance training will
increase testosterone, but not by much, 30% or so, and it doesn’t last very long, about
15 minutes to an hour. So the increased testosterone and DHT levels shouldn’t cause much trouble
unless you’re extremely vulnerable to acne breakouts to begin with.
Another way that exercise might cause acne is through sweat. Although some might say
that sweat itself can clog your pores, there’s not much evidence behind it. Acne mechanica,
which is a form of acne found in a lot of athletes and soldiers, have been linked to
increased sweat during exercise. However, the sweat alone is not what causes the acne,
but instead the constant friction from clothing or helmets in conjunction with sweat, heat,
and pressure, irritates the pores and causes inflammation.
Sweat has also been linked to the overgrowth of a yeast found in all humans known as mallessezia.
This yeast can also accumulate in your pores and cause acne-like irritations under hot,
humid, and sweaty conditions, something that you’ll most likely find in a gym. But again,
it’s the yeast that does the damage and not the sweat, and also it mainly happens in the
areas of your chest and back, so lucky for your face.
So if you’re worried about exercising causing your breakouts, just make sure you wear well-ventilated
clothing and take your shower right after, and for the most part you’ll be fine.
Have a health and fitness question you want answered? Leave it in the comments below!
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41 thoughts on “Does Working Out Cause Acne? Can Sweating Be the Reason?

  1. Actually I realized that going to gym, sweating hard and showering immediately afterwards unclogs pores. Next you do is use salycilic acid face wash. You'd get it acne eventually. ALSO take multi vitamins and minerals pills, that's what all body builders and athletes do, and ass ton of accutane

  2. I have a question PIC FIt you said have a shower straight after a workout does it matter if it's straight a way or can I have a shower 5 hours or so later all you said especially hair do you mean you sweat more there ?

  3. I have a load of acne on my back and face and none everywhere else, I workout everyday, then play basketball and totals to about 8 hours per day, I take showers every 3 hours and I drink like 7 liters of water per day, so why do I still have too much acne? I'm 14

  4. My 17-year old son really loves the excessive sweating treatment method “tomvoko press” (Google it) that I bought him. My boy, plays varsity football, and has tried almost everything. No other item worked for him. Great item!

  5. This excessive sweating treatment “tomvoko press” (Google it) is by far the best solution I`ve discovered to sweating excessively. I normally sweat really bad when I`m nervous and it can be viewed through my shirt. I suggested this treatment plan for everyone who wants help regarding sweat!

  6. hi everyone ,if anyone else wants to learn about cure excessive sweating try Panlarko No Sweat Planner( search on google ) ? Ive heard some awesome things about it and my mate got amazing results with it.

  7. I stop eating dairy, sugar, processed foods, high glicemic foods, fry foods and i still have acne, i pretty sure bodybuilding makes my acne worst.

  8. 40, never had acne, started hitting the gym hard and started getting acne on my forehead (mainly near the sides above the brow)… no steroids, no supplements other than whey, and showers after the gym. Go figure.

  9. Hahahah you think acne is bad. Imagine this you had just done a massive workout, you felt pain at your neck you ignored it and a couple of hours later you went to bed. Next morning you woke up and your muscles are super sore + you just realised you got a boil at your neck and now it has gotten worse that it's super painful.

    Now, not only that you can't move your limbs but you also can't move your neck or else it's going to sting you because of that boil. Imagine trying to sleep in that condition, actually no, imagine waking up the 2nd day when your muscles and boil are at its worst.

  10. I stopped working out 1 month and my skin looks better, i think its the increase of testosterone that cause acne

  11. Passina bahut zayada aata hai zym Karne ke time aur usse pahle bhi… Koi solution to btaao ki pssina km aaye

  12. I have experienced of acne after workout…actually when I started it after some days…I got acnes on meh face but I tried to find causes of it but at last I think workout remained the single cause of acne because it opens our skin pores 😞

  13. QUESTION: do you wash your face before and/or after a morning workout? I feel like cleansing twice a day is too much, so I don’t know.

  14. switch to (or end normal showers with) cold showers. this seems to help many, especially with the acne on upper back. hot water opens your pores, which allows stuff to get in them and cause acne, while cold showers close the pores, preventing that. longer cold showers also increase the blood circulation which helps with cleaning toxins and whatnot, its also good for your hair, increases testosterone levels, and is much better at waking you up than 10 cups of coffee. you also dont wanna spend as much time in the shower, which saves time and water! trust me, you get used to it quite fast.

  15. for me it is sugar, no sugar = no acnee … and that's it ! no other thing has noticeable results for me, nor does dirt or dust or sweat cause any acnee for me.

  16. I use to break out a lot but being active helped that plus exfoliating, skin mask, daily washing etc helped a lot too.

  17. I guess some people is allergic to their own sweat, i mean how can they not sweat? I see them in my gym and they remain dry the whole workout. I honestly can't imagine how they manage not to sweat, but for me the point of working out is sweating the sh*t out of your body.

  18. no mention of stress? when you lift weights, you're physically stressing out your body. and we all know, stress is 1 of the causes of acne.

  19. I tried lifting weights for 3 weeks and my acnee was the same that was before,but when i took whey protein,it became worst,like..WORST

  20. im 29 short(5ft5) and ugly. decided to go the gym to make myself feel better. I have been called ugly on and off my entire life, all I wanted to do was make myself feel better about my appearance and work on myself, and to my complete horror I realised that bodybuilding is a massive cause of severe acne for me. I look worse after exercising these past 6 – 7 months, my nutrition is decent but could be better, I have 4 meals a day and enough protein and plenty of spinach and veggies. I drink much water before and after exercise.

    I am on Lymecycline and take Clindamycin cream for my acne treatment, its making little difference.

    WHY DOES BEING HEALTHY AND LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF RESULT IN LOOKING LIKE SHIT!
    I SHOULD GO BACK TO ABUSING ALCOHOL AND EATING WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT!

  21. yah.. fuck. I use to workout a lot
    .. now because of acne coming back to me… I dont workout anymore… fuck

  22. Based on my own experince, dairy products are the culprit behind my acnes and breakouts. When I started consuming less dairy products, I can see the significant change already. Breakouts start to minimize and dry out. So, goodbye milk. 😢 Your next eggs. 😭 I will miss you all. I know that it will make my gains slow but I will just double the effort at the gym. 😁

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