It is a widely believed idea that regular exercise can lead to the development of acne. The truth is that exercise itself does not cause acne. Sometimes, if you wear tight clothing or a helmet, you may experience a condition called acne mechanica. Another instance of exercise ‘causing’ acne is if you do not cleanse your skin properly after exercising. The sweat and grime from the gym or outside can build up in your pores and attract the p. acnes bacteria that causes acne. Here are Dr. Schweiger’s top tips for avoiding the development of acne from exercising:
- Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing – This will help to avoid tight clothing rubbing against your skin and causing acne mechanica.
- After exercising, wash with a salicylic acid cleanser – Salicylic acid unclogs the pores and cleans any potential pore-clogging materials from your skin. Bring the cleanser into the shower with you and use it to cleanse your back and chest as well. Acne can develop on the body, as well as the face, so its important to thoroughly clean that skin after exercising as well.
- Bring your acne medications to the gym – For patients who exercise in the morning, it is important to bring their acne creams with them in their gym bag. If you do not get into this habit, the morning acne medications will be overlooked. Acne medications can be applied immediately after washing your face post-exercise.
- If you’re exercising outdoors, don’t forget the sunscreen! – Many prescription acne medications can make the skin slightly sun sensitive. It is important to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen prior to exercising outdoors; check to confirm that it is labeled “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic,” meaning that it won’t contribute to the formation of acne.