Is Your Workout Routine Causing Body Acne?

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From improved heart health to increased bone density, exercise keeps us healthy in a variety of ways. However, if you suffer from body acne, your sweaty cycling classes may increase the severity of your breakouts. Exercise often leads to sweating and the buildup of oil and dirt. This buildup creates the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive, leaving you with body breakouts.

Like facial acne, body acne is caused by various factors, including hormones, stress, and medical issues. It’s not uncommon to develop multiple types of acne on your back and chest. These may include inflammatory acne, whiteheads, blackheads, or acne mechanica. Acne mechanica is most common in athletes and is caused by the friction of tight exercise clothes or sports equipment.

Although many factors contribute to body acne, there’s a strong correlation between breakouts and exercise. For some, exercise can reduce stress, helping to prevent acne. For others, extreme workout regimens can throw their hormones out of whack. The combination of sweat-blocked pores and hormone irregularity has the potential to wreak havoc on your skin.

Acne shouldn’t keep you from experiencing the myriad health benefits working out provides, though. By understanding the causes of exercise-related acne, you can avoid breakout triggers and enjoy sweaty movement acne-free. Here are a few considerations you should keep in mind before hitting the gym.

Do You Have an Acne Treatment Plan?

First things first. If you’ve been struggling with persistent acne, you need an acne treatment plan that’s personalized to your skin’s specific needs. Drugstore products might work OK for the occasional pimple, but for chronic body acne, you need something a little stronger. Challenging acne cases often require prescriptions like antibiotics or retinoids to clear up. These medications can help kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce redness and inflammation.

If you can’t get off work to see a doctor, no worries. Digital healthcare companies like Nurx make connecting with a healthcare provider online easy and affordable. The best part is your prescription is delivered right to your door, making it convenient to get started.

Are You Showering Immediately After Exercise?

If you don’t shower right after working out, you’re letting dirt and sweat linger on your skin. The longer your pores stay clogged, the more likely you are to experience body acne. If you can, it’s a good idea to clean your problem areas thoroughly after every workout. Don’t forget to bring any topical treatments you may need to apply after cleansing your skin.

If you don’t have time to squeeze in a quick shower, your next best option is a cleansing towel. Micellar water towelettes, like those from Garnier, help remove sweat and excess sebum from your skin. This reduces your chances of experiencing a post-gym acne flare-up. 

Are You Changing Out of Your Gym Clothes After Working Out?

Everyone perspires through their clothes when they work out. If you fail to take off sweaty workout gear, you’re not doing your skin any favors. Damp athletic clothing holds sweat and sebum against your body, leading to acne breakouts. Tight sports bras are particularly bad offenders, often being linked with bacne.

Whether you’re gardening or going for a run, you need to change out of your clothes anytime you break a sweat. This will give your skin a chance to breathe and reduce bacteria growth. It’s also a good idea to ditch tight gym clothes for looser fits. Although spandex leggings may be in style, less snug garments will allow better air circulation, keeping your skin cool and dry. 

Are You Consuming the Right Post-Workout Foods?

It’s not uncommon to grab a whey protein shake or a sugary sports beverage after a workout. Although this may seem like a good idea for muscle recovery, it probably isn’t helping your body acne breakouts. A recent study conducted by French researchers found that diets rich in dairy and sugary foods are associated with adult acne.

This doesn’t mean you have to completely give up your smoothies and sports drinks. You just need to check the ingredients list. For example, most vegan protein powders use pea protein instead of the whey protein found in milk. Egg white protein is another healthy dairy-free alternative to popular whey products.

When it comes to your sports drink, simply switch over to coconut water. Like Gatorade, coconut water is high in electrolytes, helping to aid in post-workout recovery.

Are Your Workouts Increasing Your Stress?

Juggling work and life responsibilities is stressful. Adding light exercise on top of a busy life may improve your mood, but intense workouts can increase stress.

Although stress doesn’t directly cause acne, if you’re already suffering from breakouts, it can worsen it. Stress makes it harder for your body to heal wounds, like pimples. The longer it takes breakouts to heal, the more severe they can get.

This doesn’t mean you need to throw your fitness routine out the window. Rather, if you’re suffering from body breakouts, back down the intensity. Instead of a heart-pounding HIIT session, opt for a yoga class or walk in the park. This will help reduce your body’s overall stress, allowing it to more effectively heal acne.

You shouldn’t have to choose between clear skin and exercise. Instead, focus on what preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances of post-exercise breakouts.