The link between acne and sweat
12 Nov 2014
Acne breakouts can be troubling for anyone, especially for those more prone to them due to oily skin. Regular exercise is nearly always recommended as part of a balanced lifestyle (health permitting) which, if you're doing it right, leads to sweat.
Myth: Sweat causes acne
It's important to note that sweat does not directly cause acne, but can lead to trapped oils in your pores. These clogged pores can then exaggerate a pre-existing acne problem.
It is possible that sweat can indirectly lead to acne, even if you don't have particularly blemish-prone skin. Certain areas of the body experience friction during exercise and they are often the areas that produce more sweat e.g. the groin. This friction/rubbing can lead to acne mechanica.
Myth: Sweat cures acne
Some people hold quite the opposite view; that acne can be cured by sweating. The idea is that sweating clears out your pores and helps clean up blemishes. However, acne is caused by oil in the pores and sweat is not a way to get rid of this.
How to avoid sweat affecting your skin
When exercising, it's advisable to wear loose clothing, avoiding anything too-tight fitting made from synthetic material that may irritate your skin. It's also important to wash straight after to avoid oils sitting in your pores for too long.
Unfortunately for anyone really prone to break outs, the above may not be enough to alleviate the problem. You could try body washes developed specifically for oily skin. Although over-the-counter spot treatments is an option, the best treatment will be that given to you by a qualified dermatologist as they can assess you individually and decide what's best for you.