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Does Exercise Cure or Induce Acne?

This is certainly an area of massive conflict and debate. We all know that exercise is good for the mind, body and soul but what about our skin? While some groups claim that exercise helps to cure acne there are the others on the opposite side of the coin that state that exercise is a key acne inducer.

So who is right? If I have bad acne should I be exercising or not? Well truth be told it’s not all that simple and there are some good arguments from both parties. Below we will have a look at what each side has to say and try and come up with an answer to this question

Argument 1: Exercise Helps To Prevent Acne

This argument states that exercise can actually be a cure to acne. It is no secret that exercise is a good thing and is certainly good to our well being. Below are a few points which highlight how exercise helps to fight off acne.

• Intensive exercise makes you sweat. Why is this good? Well it is this sweat that actually transports the toxins out of the body helping to purify it.

• When we exercise endorphins are released into the body. These neurochemicals make us feel better and usually less stressful therefore reducing acne.

• Exercise improves the blood circulation around the body providing us with a cleaner supply of oxygen.

• Exercise helps to improve your immune system which helps to keep those pesky germs at bay. It also helps to flush out harmful toxins.

Argument 2: Exercise Can Bring About Acne

Recently at a Clean and Clear event, dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe spoke about something called acne mechanica. Acne mechanica is when acne is brought about by aggravated heat, covered skin, constant pressure and repetitive friction on the skin.

Sports related causes can include:

• Shoulder pads and straps

• Head protection such as helmets

• Constrictive uniforms that are constructed of synthetic fabric

• Headbands

• Backpack straps

With the combination of sweat and friction the pours can become clogged and produce the perfect conditions that are needed for acne to develop.

People that are more prone to acne mechanica include those under the age of 20 and anyone who already suffers from sand paper acne


Ok so looking at the above I can see why there is such a confliction. Technically both groups are right but to different extents. People wrongly attach acne that can sometimes be seen after working out with the exercise itself rather than the conditions that the work out was conducted in and the improper post exercise regimen. By following the below simple rules you limit your chances of getting acne next time you work out.

1. Wash immediately after. Ok so this should really be a given anyway but if you don’t have access to a shower after a workout make sure that you wipe your face down with towel – do this by gently dabbing your face rather than rubbing too vigorously.

2. This one is for the ladies. Avoid the use of makeup when you exercise. Cosmetics can block the skins pours which can bring on acne. If you  absolutely HAVE to put on makeup before that run make sure that you use oil free cosmetics and have a wash immediately after.

3. Wear loose fitting garments that allows for your skin to breath. Avoid synthetic, nylon or lycra clothing as these fabrics do not breathe. After your workout make sure to remove your wet clothing as soon as possible.

4. Clean your exercise equipment – if you are using things such as helmets or pads make sure that you wash them with a quick antibacterial spray before using them. Also if you are at a gym make sure to wipe down any equipment and machines.

5. Drink plenty of water. As you exercise you will lose water in the form of sweat. It is important to not only top up with water as you exercise to keep yourself hydrated but also to enable your body to flush out any toxins.

Make sure that you make time for exercise in your daily routine as it is important in keeping yourself healthy and fit.



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