Have you noticed that your skin breaks out after a rigorous exercise session? It’s great to know that you’re supporting your lungs, heart, and muscles when you exercise— not so great to see the pimply aftermath.

Here are some tips to prevent post-workout acne so you can stay fit and have smooth, blemish free skin too!

Why It Happens

Before we get into preventing post-workout acne, let’s look at why it happens to some people. Acne typically occurs when bacteria get into the pores of your face. Maybe you touched a yoga mat or some gym equipment covered in bacteria, and then you transferred it to your skin by touching your face. Perhaps you used a dirty towel to wipe sweat from your cheeks and forehead.

You might have worked out a little too hard, overheating your body and stimulating hives. Or maybe your hair is getting into your face as you work out, carrying bacteria and hair products to clog your pores. Even though sweat doesn’t contain bacteria, it can carry bacteria from your skin into your pores if you don’t wash your face soon after exercising.

Here are some tips to prevent the post-workout break outs.

Use a Clean Towel

Instead of keeping the same towel in your gym bag, bring a fresh one to each exercise session. Don’t wipe sweat from your face with your hands or shirt— only use the clean towel.

Take Off the Makeup

Sure, you want to look good while exercising— who wouldn’t? But it’s more important to keep your skin clear for other occasions, so ditch the makeup before you start your workout.

When you start to sweat, the moisture mixes with the makeup and bacteria on the skin, moving into pores and clogging them.

Wash your face with a mild cleanser right before the workout and again right after your exercise.

Keep Your Hair Back

There’s a reason most women wear their hair back when they exercise. It gets sweaty and in the way, but can also transfer bacteria to your face.

When I’m exercising, my hair tends to swing right into my face unless I tie it back (so annoying). Use a hair band to secure your hair in a ponytail or bun. If your hair is too short to go into a ponytail, you can use a breathable, moisture-wicking headband instead.

Try not to touch your hair while your exercising to prevent the spread of to slim down muscular thighs

Clean the Machine

Of course, your clean towel can still pick up germs and bacteria if you drape it over an exercise machine that others have used. If your gym supplies antibacterial wipes, use them to wipe the machine’s surfaces, where your hands or towel will touch. You can always bring your own cleaning wipes as well, if the gym doesn’t offer them.

Wear Comfortable Clothes

Okay ladies, let’s face it— the breakouts don’t always show up on your face. The crotch area, inner thighs, and chest areas can also suffer from post-workout acne. Clothing that is too tight or not breathable enough can cause excessive friction or trap body heat, leading to breakouts.

If this is a problem for you, choose loose-fitting exercise clothes made from natural fabrics. Anything comfortable and moisture-wicking is perfect to help you exercise in comfort.treadmill running vs outdoor running

Take a Shower

After a hot, sweaty workout, a shower feels amazing. Plus, the running water and soap carry away all the bacteria, germs, sweat, oils, and products that could block your pores. Try to shower as soon as possible after each exercise session.


So many physical issues and conditions can be improved by simply staying hydrated! Drink your 8-10 glasses of water every day, and you’ll not only feel better— your skin will look better, too!

As you’re incorporating these habits to prevent post-workout acne, keep a close eye on your skin’s condition. Do you notice a worsening of acne when you use a specific workout machine or exercise in hotter conditions? Maybe the machine just isn’t clean, or your skin is more sensitive to heat.

A small change in your exercise pattern may help control future breakouts. Let us know if you have any extra tips that might help! xx

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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