If you're looking to ramp up your athletic performance, creatine could be a great addition to your arsenal.
Creatine supplements offer plenty of fantastic benefits and are some of the safest supplements out there.
However, if you've experienced breakouts since starting on it, you may wonder if they can cause acne. Can creatine make you break out? Does creatine make acne worse?
There are some misconceptions about the supplement, so we're here to clear the air (and skin) around whether or not creatine can cause acne.
- Are Acne Breakouts Common With Creatine Intake?
- Potential Reasons Why Creatine Might Cause Acne
- Why Do People Use Creatine? (Benefits Explained)
- What Should I Do About My Acne Prone Skin?
- Tips To Avoid Acne When Working Out
- Frequently Asked Creatine & Acne Questions
Are Acne Breakouts Common With Creatine Intake?
First off, we should make it clear that there isn’t any scientific evidence of a direct link between creatine supplementation and acne.
Secondly, there are many ways to trigger acne breakouts, such as a high-sugar diet, regular intake of poor-quality food, bacteria, and more.
While creatine itself may not directly cause an increased risk of acne, taking creatine could alter levels of certain hormones.
Some of these hormones are linked to acne outbreaks, meaning that taking a creatine supplement may cause a breakout indirectly.
Moreover, we have to acknowledge that everyone's biology is a little bit different. So what may cause you to break out could be the best thing ever for the next person's skin.
With that being said, there are anecdotal reports of someone taking creatine supplements and breaking out.
So, why does this happen? Does creatine cause acne? Can you consume creatine and not have to worry about spots all over your face or body?
Let's dive in a bit deeper and analyze the potential factors in why creatine could spark an outbreak.
Potential Reasons Why Creatine Might Cause Acne
More research is needed on the subject, but so far, we do have a few ideas as to why some people experience an increase in acne when using creatine supplementation.
1. Increase In DHT Levels
It’s important to mention that taking creatine can boost dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels to around 50% higher, which is very significant.
Creatine can elevate testosterone levels, and a byproduct of it is DHT. In men, higher levels of DHT have been associated with hair loss and increased risk of acne breakout.
This can happen when DHT binds itself to androgen receptors on oil glands, causing excess oil production. When this happens, skin cells aren't able to properly shed, which traps oil underneath.
Not only that, but higher DHT levels can also trigger sebaceous glands, which can cause acne in those who have a history of it.
2. Increase In Testosterone
As we just mentioned, taking creatine supplements can increase testosterone production, which can be helpful if you're looking to build lean muscle mass and increase strength.
Found in both men and women, testosterone is very important and can also cause hormone-driven acne. It's why you'll see many teenagers experiencing skin issues.
Proper hydration is essential for just about every process in the body, but some anecdotal evidence indicates that taking creatine supplementation could increase the risk of dehydration.
However, a lot more research is needed on this front. Regardless, this can all be avoided with proper water intake and avoiding excess diuretics, like coffee, certain medications, water pills, etc.
Related Article - How Much Water Should I Drink On Creatine? (Find Out Here!)
Dehydrated skin can trigger excess oil production in an attempt to restore hydration, consequently increasing the number of dead skin cells.
These cells can clog pores, leading to inflammation and a potential acne outbreak.
Why Do People Use Creatine? (Benefits Explained)
Increasing Muscle Mass
Building muscle mass is important for many people, from the average gym-goer to professional athletes.
Muscle growth or maintenance is actually one, if not the most, common reason why people start creatine supplementation in the first place.
It’s not just bodybuilders who can benefit, either. Those at risk of muscular dysfunction or certain disabilities could also find it to be a wonderful tool in keeping on muscle.
Of course, for maximum results in stimulating muscle growth or maintaining muscle mass, you should pair your supplementation with a solid routine involving weight training and a proper diet.
Even with something more powerful, like anabolic steroids, you still need to put in the work for the results.
Boosting Strength And Athletic Performance
Our next point goes hand-in-hand with the previous one.
While it’s nothing like an anabolic steroid, creatine consumption can help not only build muscle mass but improve strength and improve athletic performance.
Creatine offers benefits for both beginners and advanced athletes, helping produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
ATP is essentially what provides energy and is absolutely necessary for muscle contraction, though it isn't stored much in the body's cells.
This means that once our muscles start contracting, like with any kind of exercise, the body must start producing ATP quickly to keep it going.
By having access to ATP more easily, you could feel like working out harder, for longer. This undoubtedly results in a quicker route to your fitness goals - whatever they may be.
From improving blood flow through muscle tissue to transporting oxygen to your muscle cells, it’s no doubt creatine monohydrate is a useful fitness tool.
Support For Cognitive Function
Aside from physical performance in terms of muscular function, creatine can also help by improving brain function.
Evidence suggests that creatine can help boost levels of specific chemicals in the brain cells, enhancing short-term memory and cognitive function.
For those at risk of low creatine stores, like older adults and those on plant-based diets, a creatine supplement regimen could be of great help.
Again, while further research is needed, there are studies shown to increase memory test performance by a whopping 50% and on an intelligence test by 20% with these groups.
Maintains Blood Sugar Level
Did you know that creatine supplements can also help reduce blood sugar levels? This is done by affecting the enzyme "glucose transporter type 4" or "GLUT-4".
When our muscles contract like with lifting weights, these glucose transporters rise to the surface of the muscle cell, helping dispose of glucose from the bloodstream and into the muscles.
Combats Signs Of Aging
Yes, it's true! Despite many misconceptions of associations between creatine and acne, the topical application of creatine could help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and boost collagen production, making the skin firmer.
In addition, because creatine increases water retention, it can further help keep skin looking young and prevent dehydration.
No matter what you’re using creatine supplements for, it’s crucial that you’re taking proper doses.
This will depend on your gender, your body weight, health factors, and the reasons for taking creatine.
What Should I Do About My Acne Prone Skin?
Does creatine cause acne? We now know that it doesn’t directly, but other factors could cause inflamed sebaceous glands and other symptoms that could aggravate the skin.
If you do experience a breakout, there are ways to minimize or solve the problem entirely.
Concealer is probably the first instinct for most of us when experiencing a breakout. While it may not give you clear skin, it can help conceal the appearance of a blemish.
This is a short-term solution that's easy to do but simply applying concealer over the top works. Results may vary depending on the brand and type used.
Aside from a solid hydration routine and a healthy diet, using a moisturizer can help prevent your skin from breaking out.
A tinted moisturizer can also help with masking the appearance of blemishes.
The use of gel cleansers may require a bit more time to see results, but they can help minimize acne-causing bacteria and bacterial infections by helping to keep the skin clean.
These have been known to not only help with breakouts on the face but back acne, as well.
Reduce Sugar Consumption
If you’re genetically susceptible to acne or already have underlying acne problems, they could be triggered by sugary sports drinks, desserts, and other factors.
Increasing Water Intake
Increasing how much water you drink can facilitate creatine metabolism, improving the body’s ability to process the amino acid.
Tips To Avoid Acne When Working Out
More than a correlation between creatine and acne, breakouts are often related to not doing one or more of the following:
- Always shower immediately after working out. We know this isn’t always possible, but hanging out with sweat, dirt, and bacteria on your skin can quickly trigger acne.
- Going along with the last point, make sure to always wash your workout clothes and never wear anything more than once without tossing it in the washer first.
- Restrict sugar in your diet, if you're consuming a notable amount. Most of us don't even realize this, as it seems like just about everything has added sugar these days. Sports drinks, soda, and even canned foods include sugar a lot of the time!
- Increasing how much water you drink can do so much for overall health - particularly for the skin. Also, watch your intake of alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate you.
- In some people, certain foods like red meats - particularly those high in saturated fats/leucine - and dairy can spark breakouts.
- While exercise and creatine both offer an array of mental benefits, it's still helpful to check in with yourself. Overworking yourself or taking on too much stress can have negative effects on the skin and the entire body.
Frequently Asked Creatine & Acne Questions
You can really stop whenever you’d like. However, if you like your body isn’t reacting well to it, you should stop and see if anything gets better. If you do experience weight gain, know that this will likely go away within a couple of weeks or less.
It's not so much about the brand as long as you're going with a reputable one. More so, pay attention to the dosage and perhaps start at a lower dose and work your way up gradually.
Are you still wondering, "does creatine cause acne"? While it makes sense why some people link creatine and acne, it's usually due to some other factor rather than the supplement itself.
As with anything, it's wise to monitor yourself after you begin taking creatine. We hope that this was helpful; now go get those gains!