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Dear Cassey: Are sweaty workouts causing my breakouts?
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September 16, 2021

Hi Cassey!

Lately I’ve noticed that my face breaks out A LOT and I was never the type of person to have pimple breakouts even through puberty. I’m starting to think it’s because I’ve committed to working out a lot harder over the past couple years where I’m literally dripping sweat after a workout as opposed to before when I wouldn’t work too hard to avoid sweating too much.

Do you have any recommendations on how to care for our skin either pre-/or post-workout (or both)?

Bummed With Breakouts

Hey Bummed,

I totally hear you!! It’s so frustrating when you earn that beautiful, sweaty workout glow only for it to turn into a breakout later. The good news is, you can make a few changes to help your face stay clear without slowing down on your workouts! Yay!

Workout with a CLEAN face!

It seems obvious to wash your face after you workout, but it’s just as important to wash it BEFORE you workout too! Any makeup, dirt, or oils hanging out on your face will clog your pores while you work.

If you’re taking your workout outside, don’t skip the sunscreen! The sun damages your skin in more ways than just a sunburn. It contributes to aging and acne too – it dries out your face, which can cause more oil production over time.

Use an oil-free sunscreen to keep it light while protecting your skin.

Clean your equipment

Whether you’re working out at home or in a gym, it’s super important to make sure all of your equipment is clean. This goes beyond things that will touch your face! That means wiping down weights, mats, cardio equipment – everything!

When this stuff isn’t clean, it’s covered in bacteria. You touch it during your workout and then touch your face to wipe sweat, stop an itch, etc., and then the bacteria is on your face. That leads to acne!

As a general rule, I keep my face off of mats and equipment, especially when it’s not my own!

Keep your outfit fresh too.

Dirty workout clothes are full of germs and oils. Re-wearing workout clothes might save you on laundry, but it won’t do your skin any favors. Don’t do it!

Clean up after your workout to stop breakouts

Don’t let the sweat and bacteria from your workout sit on your skin. If you don’t have time to fully shower, at least rinse your face and change into clean clothes!

Water, water, water

When I committed to drinking more water, the changes I saw in my skin were INSANE. I was dealing with breakouts just like you, despite experimenting with new products constantly. How crazy that the key was just more water?!

Just more proof that beauty starts within, right?

Here’s the real science though. Sweating a lot makes you dehydrated. Dehydration leads to dry skin. Dry skin leads to acne! Making sure you’re getting enough water keeps your skin hydrated, clear, and glowy.

And think about other things you’re putting into your body! Certain foods damage your skin, and some of us are more sensitive to those foods than others! Check out these posts I wrote about foods to avoid for good skin, and super healthy foods for skin health!

Hopefully, some of these tips help you get the healthy, glowy skin you deserve! As always, remember that all of our bodies are different and a ton of other factors go into healthy skin, like hormones, stress, genetics, and medications! If you’re trying everything and still dealing with breakouts, go see a dermatologist! They can help you pinpoint exactly what you need.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, leave your questions below! I may answer it in an upcoming Dear Cassey post!

12 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: Are sweaty workouts causing my breakouts?”

There are 12 comments posted by our users.

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  1. Lax says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I was wondering what is the difference between repetition exercises and timed exercises. Which ones are more efficient and which ones are better for losing fat and which for building muscles.

    Thank you <3 🙂

    1. blogilates says:

      This is a great question!!! Stay tuned!!!

  2. Sharon C says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I have a challenge for you! I have Crohn’s disease, which is a GI disease that has a unique dietary restriction. For most people whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables are really healthy to eat; for Crohn’s disease patients like me, those actually make us very sick! I have to eat processed bread, nothing whole grain, no nuts if they’re not in creamy butter form without chunks, no apples unless they’re peeled and cored and turned into applesauce, no broccoli unless it’s cooked into mush, no potatoes unless they’re mashed and completely skin-free, and the only fruit I can really eat normally is bananas. Basically, my diet is a whole lot of starchy carbs and processed stuff by default. I’m really struggling to find healthy snacks and meals that get me the right nutrients! Your banana and peanut butter bites worked for me as a dessert; any other recommendations? I’d love some creative, out-of-the-box suggestions, because the usual healthy stuff just can’t be done for me! Thank you! 🙂

  3. Confused and unmotivated says:

    Dear Cassey
    I was never really someone who cared that much about the scale because I was (and still am) very healthy. However, once Covid-19 was dying down a lot I started to see that I put on a little bit more weight. I’ve been working out for several months and eating now and nothing is really happening and I’m not really losing weight. Do you know what causes this?
    Love-Confused and unmotivated

  4. unsure says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I’ve seen so many people starve themselves and they lose weight. Should I do the same?

    1. blogilates says:

      No, I definitely don’t recommend that! I have lots of resources on here that talk about losing weight in a safe way if that’s what you’re looking for, but starving won’t do it! Sending hugs!

  5. confused says:

    dear Cassey,
    I’m and athlete and I’m trying to lose weight without losing muscles. I’m not sure if I should cut down on what I’m eating or just exercising more, and if it’s exercising more, should I do cardio or more muscle toning workouts?
    Thank you so much <3

  6. Anna coblin says:

    Good one! Thank you for sharing such an amazing post I found it really very useful and interesting.

  7. Yuxuan Zhao says:

    This was super helpful Cassey! Will wipe down my mat asap XD

    1. Inga says:

      I can also recommend using a BHA (salicylic acid) product around the time you work out – either just before or just afterwards. It helps a lot in clearing your pores out so that the bacteria can’t stick around. A BHA spray toner is really convenient for the gym. It has to be used on cleaned skin though.

  8. Exercise buddy says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I’ve been sticking to the same workouts I really love, your full body weighted summer sculpt, and I’m wondering if I should be switching up the routine. Is it okay to do the same workouts every week?

  9. Change-less Body says:

    Dear Cassey, I have worked out for a year now and I am not seeing any changes, no matter what I do. What do I have to do to start seeing changes?
    Love, Change-less Body

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