Is Your Workout Causing Body Acne? Here’s What You Can Do

Working out helps get you fitter, healthier and stronger but it can also give you dreaded body acne. As working out is important for your physical and mental health, it’s not something that you can just stop to avoid body acne. Instead, what you do before, during and after you exercise can all contribute to reducing the risk of acne.

Why working out can cause body acne

When you exercise, your skin becomes sweaty and hot. Not to mention, there may be friction caused by your workout clothes that can all contribute to developing body acne. The build up of this oil and bacteria and sweat means that it creates the perfect environment for acne to appear, which is then exacerbated by exercise.

How to prevent body acne caused by working out

However, since working out is essential in being mentally and physically healthy, stopping exercise to prevent acne isn’t something that you should do. Also, sweating isn’t exactly something that you can avoid as well. So instead, implement these tip to minimize the risk of body acne.

Preparing for your workout

Exercise with a clean face

Some people choose to go to the gym or work out with make up on. That’s completely understandable but just be warned that doing so may increase the likelihood of developing acne. The combination of make up and sweat will seep into your pores, causing blockages in the skin.

If you are wearing make up prior to heading to your training session, then remove it so that you have a bare face. If you prefer to wear make up while working out however, then opt for lighter make up. Skip foundation and spot treat instead and aim for waterproof eye make up as sweat can also cause it to smudge.

Wear clean workout clothes and towel

It goes without saying to wear fresh workout clothes. If you wear clothes that you’ve previously exercised in without washing, then the bacteria and dead skin cells will be present, clogging pores.

Wear a new change of clothes every workout. This includes the gym towel that you use as well. If you can, get a few towels that you can cycle through for the week.

Wear loose-fitting or breathable clothes

Loose clothing will mean that you skin has more room to breathe, not to mention, there’ll be less friction that can cause potential body acne. If you find that your body acne is occurring at places where there is repeated rubbing of your clothes on your skin, then this may help.

If you prefer a tighter-fit, then consider the fabric of your fitness apparel. Moisture-wicking fabric will absorb the sweat away from the skin so there’s less exposure time. It’ll also dry quickly, making it much more comfortable and lightweight.

During your workout

Wipe your face with a clean towel

As you sweat, continue to pat your face dry with your clean gym towel. Be careful where you leave it while you’re doing your sweat, so that it doesn’t pick up bacteria from other places, and continuously pat yourself down. This will minimize the amount of sweat on your body for acne to appear.

Wipe down your equipment

Using shared equipment at the gym can be a little gross sometimes, and can definitely be a contributing factor to body acne. However, to keep it clean, make sure that you wipe down your equipment before and after use.

Each gym will be equipped with anti-bacterial spray and paper towels or wipes that you can use to ensure that the equipment you’re touching your skin on, is clean. Where you can, place your towel on it as a barrier between your body and facilities.

After your workout

Shower immediately

One of the best ways to prevent body acne caused by a workout is to shower immediately. Washing away the sweat, dirt and other bacteria will stop it from building up and accumulating. Use a face cleanser (one that contains salicylic acid is an ideal as it’ll help wiping away the sweat and dirt) and body wash that is best suited to your skin type and change into clean clothes afterwards.

If you can’t get to a shower immediately after your workout, then do your best to wipe down with some wipes and still change into clean clothes so that you’re not sitting in sweaty clothes for a while.



Welcome to the guidebook to your healthiest life. Aaptiv delivers the highest quality fitness and health information from personal trainers and industry experts. Subscribe now for a weekly dose of inspiration and education.

I would like to receive weekly fitness articles and inspiration from Aaptiv Magazine.

Please click the checkbox to subscribe.