May 13, 2019

Can Working Out Cause Acne?

If we look at fitness as a simple equation, working out equals physical exertion, endorphin rushes, and oftentimes sweat—but skin and skin care are not so simple. How our skin looks and behaves depends on a million factors: hormones, hygiene, genetics, aging, what we eat, how much we sleep; the list goes on. Even our microbiome can affect our skin!

But if you’re struggling with acne and working out a ton, you may have questioned whether the two were connected. To get to the bottom of it, we asked board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., and here’s what she said.

“When you exercise, you increase the blood flow to your skin, nourishing your skin with vital nutrients and oxygen. Not only does exercise improve your skin’s metabolism, but it is also scientifically proven that you can even begin to reverse the signs of visible aging by working out! Based on recent evidence, not only do people who exercise feel younger; they look younger as well! Incredibly, this is true even if you don’t start working out until later in life.

However, I always try to work out in clean skin rather than wearing makeup to work out, because my skin can be acne prone. Working out in makeup can certainly contribute to a breakout. While sweating during a workout boosts our circulation, which is beneficial for our skin’s health and glow, our sweat contains ammonia and urea–so if we leave sweat on our skin for too long, this can cause irritation and inflammation, which can trigger breakouts.”



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This site offers health, wellness, fitness and nutritional information for educational purposes only. The information on this website is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

© 2018 - Dr. Whitney Bowe

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