Is Your Workout Causing an Acne Break Out?

New YearNew Me”? A common New Year resolution is to start exercising more, so here are our tips to avoid an acne breakout from working out!

Benefits of exercise

Exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which is important after the fear and worry experienced by many in relation to COVID-19, and the upsetting restrictions of lockdown.

Regular exercise also promotes better sleep and healthier more radiant skin! Exercise increases the blood flow to the skin which raises the amount of oxygen and nutrients transported to the skin, and removes waste products from the skin.

To decrease the risk of an acne break out, these tips may help:

  1. Remove make-up prior to working out. The pores dilate during strenuous exercise and the make-up may clog these dilated pores trapping oil and bacteria, leading to spots.
  2. Tie your hair back. Oils from the hair can transfer to the skin
  3. If sharing equipment, wipe it down before using. Anything that touches the face like headphones or helmets should be cleaned regularly to remove make up, sweat, oil, bacteria and dirt.
  4. Avoid touching your face with your hands, to prevent transfer of bacteria, oils and dirt.
  5. Wear loose fitting breathable clothing for your workout. Tight fitting clothing traps sweat next to the skin, and the rubbing of fabric can irritate the hair follicles. Malassezia is a yeast commonly found on the skin and warm, tight garments and moisture create the perfect environment for the yeast to thrive. The over-production of this yeast contributes to inflammation of the hair follicles, and causes pimples or spots (folliculitis). This type of acne is different to bacterial acne.
  6. Remove sweaty clothes as soon as possible after workout!
  7. Shower after exercise. When you have a good heart-racing workout the pores on the skin dilate, and sweat and oil is expelled from the pores. It is important to wash the face and body as soon as possible, to remove the sweat and oil from the surface of the skin, and decrease the risk of these contributing to a break out of spots.
  8. Wash workout clothes after exercise to remove sweat, oil and bacteria from the fabric. Re-wearing garments without washing them can create a welcome environment for fungi to grow!

Talk to your GP or pharmacist

Even mild cases of acne can sometimes cause distress and unhappiness. If you develop an acne break out that persists, go and speak with your GP or pharmacist. Your pharmacist may be able to recommend some over-the-counter treatment. If the breakout persists, you may need prescribed treatment from your GP.

Post first published June 2020, updated December 2020


Visit our acne information page to learn more or if you need support, information and guidance for your skin condition ask our Dermatology Nurses.

 

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