Is Your Workout Routine Giving You Acne? Here's the Scoop!

Working out is great for your body and mind – it helps you to stay fit, healthy, and happy. However, for some of us, exercise may cause an unwelcome side effect: acne. If you’re wondering why your complexion is suffering, despite all the sweat and hard work, keep reading. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind exercise-related breakouts, and what you can do to prevent them.

1. Sweat and Bacteria – Two Not-So-Friendly Companions
Sweating is a natural response of the body to cope with increased heat and intensity of physical activity. However, the moisture and oil produced by sweating can create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which thrive in warm and humid environments. When bacteria grow in hair follicles and pores, they cause inflammation and infection, leading to red, pus-filled acne bumps. To prevent this, it’s important to wear clean, breathable workout clothes and shower as soon as possible after exercising, using a mild cleanser to wash away dirt, sweat, and bacteria.

2. Overstimulated Oil Glands – The Culprit Behind Some Breakouts
Another factor that can trigger exercise-related acne is an increase in androgens – male hormones that women also produce in smaller amounts. Androgens can stimulate the oil glands in the skin, leading to increased sebum production, clogged pores, and breakouts. Additionally, wearing tight-fitting workout gear or using heavy equipment can put pressure on the skin, making it more prone to irritation and inflammation. One way to combat this is to use oil-free skincare products that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which can unclog pores and reduce inflammation.

3. Diet and Hydration – Matters Affecting Your Skin Health
While it’s tempting to indulge in post-workout snacks and drinks that are high in sugar, salt, or fat, such choices may not be the best for your skin. Consuming too much of these substances can worsen acne or trigger new breakouts. The same goes for dehydration – when your body lacks fluids, your skin becomes dry, dull, and prone to infections. To keep acne at bay, make sure to eat a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

4. Prescription Medications and Hormonal Changes – Underground Factors
Sometimes, exercise-related acne can be caused by deeper issues that require medical attention. For example, if you’re taking medications such as corticosteroids or anticonvulsants, they may have side effects that affect your skin. You should talk to your doctor about alternative treatments or dosage adjustments. Additionally, hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, can cause acne flare-ups, too. In these cases, topical or oral hormonal therapies may be needed to regulate and balance hormone levels.

5. Stress Management – Reducing the Pressure on Your Skin
Last but not least, stress can play a significant role in acne formation, and exercise can either help or exacerbate it. While moderate physical activity can lower stress levels and improve mood, excessive or compulsive exercise can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, which can trigger inflammation and imbalance within the body. It’s essential to find a workout routine that suits your needs and goals, and to take breaks when you feel overwhelmed or burned out. Incorporating relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can also enhance your skin health and overall well-being.

Acne from working out is not uncommon, but it can be managed by following simple guidelines and making healthy choices. By maintaining good hygiene habits, using appropriate skincare products, monitoring your diet and hydration, seeking medical help if necessary, and managing your stress levels, you can ensure that your workout routine benefits your body and your skin. Remember, exercise should be a joy, not a burden – so don’t let acne ruin your mood or your glow!


If you are in the San Diego area and would like to learn more about our services or book an appointment today, click here. If you are new to Vasseur Skincare or needed help choosing the right skincare, click here. If you would like to talk with one of our Vasseur team members for a free consultation, click here and we will get back with you as soon as we can (please allow 1-3 business days for a response).

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