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Does Exercise Reduce Acne?

by
author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Does Exercise Reduce Acne?
Don't allow exercise to be a catalyst for acne. Photo Credit Mark Hunt/Hemera/Getty Images

The idea that exercise can reduce acne is often explained by the effect of sweating during exercise. Some so-called acne experts claim that sweating helps removes toxins from the body, therefore reducing breakouts. Unfortunately, while appealing, this theory has not been tested nor proven, at time of publication. Instead, exercise can be used in addition to healthy lifestyle to reduce acne in other ways. If you're careless, exercise can cause acne as well, so care for your skin after a workout.

Hormone Regulation

During key changes in your life, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, you experience an influx of hormones that can make your skin go haywire. The result is widespread and noticeable acne, especially if you're overweight and at risk for early hormonal changes. Exercise helps to regulate your hormones through weight management so your hormonal side effects are lessened. Don't expect exercise to be a major cure-all; it needs to be coupled with a proper diet to have a positive impact on your acne.

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Stress Reduction

An hour at the gym can do wonders for your stress level, which can subsequently lower your acne level. Acne flareups often occur as a result from increased levels of cortisol in your blood. Cortisol can trigger your oil glands to go into overproduction, resulting in a spotty complexion. By using exercise to lower your stress level, you can keep cortisol levels at bay to see an improvement in your acne.

Counter-Productive Effects

While exercise can have a positive impact on your acne, it can also make your acne much worse should you have poor hygiene habits in and after the gym. Touching the various pieces of community exercise equipment and then touching your skin spreads that bacteria and clogs pores. The sweat you excrete during exercise can also cause acne, specifically if it's absorbed by your workout clothes and left to sit on your skin. Not showering after a session can leave your skin warm, moist and ideal for bacteria.

Acne Prevention

Exercising to reduce acne requires the best hygiene possible. Always sanitize community exercise machines with antibacterial wipes before you use the machine. Then, avoid touching your face and use a towel to mop up sweat rather than your hands. Wear exercise clothing that is made from natural fabrics to allow for better circulation and to wick moisture away from your skin. When you're finished exercising, have a shower and use a medicated body wash to sop up excess sweat and oil for cleaner, clearer skin.

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References

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