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Does Working Out Help Acne?

Even though acne is one of the most common skin conditions in America, that shared experience doesn’t make us feel any more comfortable when we have a breakout.

Many of the widely held beliefs of what might lead to an acne breakout are false; in fact, WebMD says we don’t honestly know what causes this painful and embarrassing issue. Though hormones and bacteria are known to play their part.

As we search for effective countermeasures to battle those dreaded pimples, people have understandably posed the question; does working out help battle acne?

This simple question has a double-edged answer. Yes and no.

How Does Exercise Help Combat Acne?

The disappointing part of the answer to that question is that exercise can’t reverse acne and give you soft, smooth skin, but it can help bring a breakout under control.

While stress doesn’t directly cause acne, some forms can be exacerbated by it, and the affected area can become painful and red. Exercise helps keep breakouts from getting worse because as stress-relieving endorphins are released, this natural painkiller makes us feel a sense of euphoria that combats stress and makes us feel better.

It’s also believed that the increase in blood flow caused by excising can reduce the severity of breakouts.

What Are The Negative Effects Of Working Out & Acne?

There aren’t any direct adverse effects of exercising on your skin condition, but a vigorous workout leads to heavy sweating. It could potentially increase the spread of dirt, grease, and oils over your face, which could, in turn, worsen your breakout.

The increased sweat levels may be a breeding ground for nasty bacteria, negating the positive effects of exercise on acne.

So what can we do to level the playing field?

How Can You Use This Information?

First and foremost, the positive effects of exercising on your general health and wellbeing far outweigh the negative role it plays in worsening your acne. Being active and working on your strength and cardiovascular fitness is of the utmost importance.

If you don’t work out regularly, that’s the first change you need to make.

Getting fit doesn’t necessarily need expensive gym memberships, costly equipment, or complex programs; there are plenty of simple exercises that can improve your health.


Walking is the most underrated form of exercise on Earth. It’s something most people can do, doesn’t cost anything, and is easy to recover from. It also has the added benefit of not being too strenuous, so it won’t lead you to sweat.

Resistance Training

If you have a gym membership or dumbbells at home, resistance training and progressive overload is an excellent way to increase your strength, release endorphins and possibly curb that nasty outbreak.

However, if you don’t have access to either of those, resistance bands are an inexpensive alternative that you can take to work, on holiday, or use in the park to get some fresh air (also great for your skin).


Swimming is a total-body workout unlike any other. It requires cardiovascular and muscular strength, coordination, and stamina. There aren’t many forms of exercise that can improve your health and fitness as quickly and effectively as swimming.

Then there’s the water, which will help keep the oil and dirt off your face, and the immediate shower you’ll take after your swimming is beneficial to battling acne.

Pre-Work Out

Before you work out, there are several precautions you can take to make sure you reap all the benefits of the acne-battling exercise and none of the side effects.

If you wear makeup, it’s a good idea to remove it before you start getting sweaty to avoid unnecessary oil spreading over your face. You should tie long hair up to prevent dripping extra sweat on your face while washing your hands before hitting the gym wouldn’t do any harm either.

Post-Work Out

If you show up and put the hard work in, you’re going to sweat, which could lead to increased levels of bacteria and oil on your face and clogged pores.

It might go without saying, but it’s essential to take a shower to get the sweat from your face and hair as soon as you can following exercise and avoid touching your face until you’ve got rid of all the sweat from your face and dirt and grime from your hands.

But Most Importantly …

The single most important thing you can do to battle acne is to talk to your doctor or medical professional to find out just what it is you’re dealing with. 

There are many types of skin conditions, and getting expert advice on how best to treat your individual problem is the best way to deal with it as quickly as possible.


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