Does Exercise Cause Acne? Why You Shouldn’t Wear Makeup At The Gym

Does sweat and exercise cause acne during gym workouts?

“Sweat is just water and salt,” Dr. Neal Schultz, a dermatologist in New York City, told Acne.com. “You don’t need to wash it off. But if you want to just feel fresh that will come off with just water. You don’t even need soap.”

Sweat isn’t the problem. Makeup is. “If you are wearing makeup at the gym it can get trapped under oil and dirt and cause pimples and cysts,” Dr. Lisa Airan told us. You may want to attract that hot guy on the treadmill but, we assure you, you’ll regret wearing blush two days later!

Does that mean you can’t wear any makeup at the gym? If you feel confident enough to go without, go for it. But if you’re not quite ready to bare all, choose makeup products that are less likely to clog pores. Our top choices would be lipstick, mascara and an eye pencil. Even if you feel you need to put a bit more on, please nix the heavy concealers, foundations, blush and powders!

Removing makeup before a workout is super-important. “The most important time of the day to wash your face is before you exercise. Not after,” Dr. Schultz explains. “When you exercise, you sweat. When you sweat, you don’t like sweat so you want to wipe it away. When you wipe it off, you’re pushing all of the dirt that was on your face that you didn’t remove when you got to the gym including makeup, dead cells, dirt, debris, oil, air pollution into your pores. That is what makes you break out.”

Shampoos, conditioners and other hair products can also cause acne on the forehead.

“If the hair is overly conditioned − or you use a lot of products in the hair − and the hair is in contact with the skin it can cause cysts and breakouts,” Dr. Airan tell us. If you are using conditioner and cream rinse by the top of your forehead and you sweat, whatever coated your hair is literally dripping onto your forehead.

Leaving your hair down is another mistake. Always put your hair back in a tight hairband. “If it is not pulled back, whatever is on your hair rubs your skin,” adds Schultz. “Just from flying around the hair can promote breakouts because it’s rubbing the dirt into your skin.”