Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne? (Explained for Acne-Prone Skin)

Does pre-workout cause acne? Chances are, if you've ever worked out, you've heard about the dreaded pre-workout breakout.

You know, that seemingly unavoidable side effect of taking that magic powder or pill that's supposed to make your workout better.

Believe it or not, there is some truth to this phenomenon. Read on to learn more about why pre-workout might cause acne for some people.

Pre-workout is a popular dietary supplement that fitness enthusiasts take to boost their energy levels and improve their physical performance.

However, some people have reported breakouts after taking pre-workout supplements, leading to the question: does pre-workout cause acne?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as everyone's skin reacts differently to different ingredients. Some experts believe that pre-workout can trigger acne breakouts in people with sensitive skin.

Pre-workout supplements typically contain high levels of caffeine and other stimulants, which can increase blood flow and cause the skin to produce more oil. Also, pre-workout often contains artificial colors and flavors, which can also irritate the skin.

Suppose you have sensitive skin or skin issues and are concerned about the potential for breakouts. In that case, you may want to avoid taking pre-workout supplements, including fitness supplements or opt for a more natural version.

Related Article - What Are The Side Effects Of Pre-Workout?

Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne? (Explained for Acne-Prone Skin)

Why Pre-Workout Might Cause Acne (An Overview)

Many pre-workout supplements and pre-workout powders can cause skin problems, including acne. Here are just a few reasons why pre-workout might cause acne:

1. High in Caffeine

One common ingredient in pre-workout supplements is caffeine. Caffeine can increase your adrenal hormone production, which can lead to increased oil production and inflammation. This can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

Read Also - Average Amount Of Caffeine In Pre-Workouts

2. Packed Full of Artificial Sweeteners

Pre-workout powders often contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium (ACE).

Any artificial sweetener can disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria, which can lead to inflammation and skin problems, such as acne.

3. Contains Ingredients That Can Cause Acne

Pre-workout supplements often contain ingredients that can cause acne, such as processed and refined products, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners.

If you are prone to acne, make sure you get pre-workouts with natural ingredients and a natural sweetener.

4. Dehydrated Skin

Dehydrated skin is more prone to acne. When you sweat, you lose water and electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration.

Dehydrated skin is more susceptible to breakouts because it's unable to properly shed dead skin cells. This can clog pores and lead to acne.

5. Inflammation

Inflammation is a key factor in the development of acne. Pre-workout supplements can cause inflammation, which can trigger or worsen breakouts.

pre-workout scoop and pills

What Ingredients To Look For In Pre-Workout

Pre-workout supplements can help to give you an extra boost of energy when you're flagging, and they can help to enhance your performance in the gym. However, not all pre-workouts are created equal.

If you're acne prone, it's important to be choosy about the pre-workout you use, as some formulations can actually make breakouts worse. So what pre-workout ingredients should you look for (and avoid) in a pre-workout supplement?

The Good

Ingredients like caffeine and beta-alanine have been shown to improve athletic performance, so they're definitely worth looking for in a pre-workout.

Creatine is another ingredient that can be beneficial for athletes, as it helps to replenish ATP stores and improve muscle recovery.

And if you're looking for a pre-workout that's gentle on your skin, stick to products that contain niacinamide, as this form of vitamin B3 has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to calm acne breakouts. [1]

Also Check Out - Coffee Vs Pre-Workout

The Bad

A lot of pre-workout supplements contain artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and other chemicals that can be harmful to your health. These ingredients can cause side effects like headaches, nausea, and jitters. They can also aggravate acne-prone skin.

So, if you're looking for a pre-workout supplement that is truly healthy, be sure to avoid anything with artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or other chemicals.

Stick to natural ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, and creatine. However, if you have acne already, you may need to stay clear of creatine and caffeine as well.

what ingredients in pre-workout cause acne

How To Reduce Acne (Tips & Remedies To Minimize)

If you suffer from acne prone skin, you may have tried everything from prescription medications to home remedies, with little to no success at fighting acne.

But don't give up hope - there are a few things you can do to help reduce the frequency and severity of your acne flare-ups, even if you are using a pre-workout supplement. Use the following acne tips. [2]

Use a Milk Thistle Supplement

Milk thistle is a plant that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including acne and improved skin health. Milk thistle contains silymarin, an antioxidant that helps to protect the liver and lower inflammation in the body.

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Take Cold Showers Straight After A Workout

Cold showers help to close pores and reduce inflammation. They also help to regulate sebum production, which can minimize the chances of an acne breakout.

Hot showers, on the other hand, can strip the skin of its natural oils and lead to dehydration, both of which can trigger or worsen breakouts.

Take a Fish Oil Supplement

Fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. This can help to reduce the inflammation that can lead to breakouts. Acne sufferers may want to consider taking fish oil supplements daily.

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Wear Sunscreen When Going Outside

Sunscreen can help to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. It can also help to lower inflammation, which can minimize the chances of getting pimples and acne breakouts.

Avoid Stress

Stress is linked to acne. Stress can trigger the release of the hormone cortisol, which can increase sebum production and inflammation. This hormonal imbalance can lead to more breakouts. So, try to find ways to relax and de-stress.

man looking stressed after workout

Don’t Wear Makeup During Exercise

Makeup can clog pores and traps sweat and acne-causing bacteria against your skin. Clogged pores can lead to acne development. So, it's best to avoid wearing makeup during exercise.

Change Exercise Clothes Regularly

Exercise clothes can trap sweat and bacteria against your skin. This can lead to breakouts in acne prone skin. So, make sure to change into clean clothes after a workout.

Avoid Sugary And Greasy Foods

Sugary and greasy foods can increase insulin levels, which can increase sebum production and inflammation. High insulin levels can lead to more pimples. Greasy foods can also contribute to acne by clogging pores and providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

So if you want clear skin, it's best to avoid greasy and sugary foods as much as possible. Instead, focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Eat Whole Foods

Anecdotal evidence has shown that certain foods can trigger breakouts, so it makes sense to avoid them as much as possible. But what about foods that help to clear up acne?

Whole foods are packed with nutrients that are essential for healthy skin, so including them in your diet is a great way to give your skin a boost from the inside out.

Foods like salmon, sweet potatoes, and blueberries are all rich in antioxidants, which help to protect skin cells from damage.

So if you're looking for a natural way to get clearer skin, start by filling your plate with these foods.

Try A Glycemic Load Diet

A low glycemic load diet is a diet that includes foods that have a low glycemic index. This means that the foods won't cause your blood sugar to spike after you eat them.

Studies have shown that people who consume a diet high in glycemic load are more likely to suffer from acne than those who eat a diet low in glycemic load.

So if you're looking for ways to clear up your skin, it might be worth trying a low glycemic load diet.

Pre-Workout & Acne FAQs

What are the best pre-workout supplements for acne prone skin?

The best pre-workout for acne prone skin should be those with ingredients that won’t clog pores. That means products with a lot of chemicals, artificial colors, and fragrances should be avoided.

Instead, opt for products that are made with natural ingredients and are gentle on the skin. You also want to look for products that contain ingredients that can help to control oil production and decrease inflammation, such as Zinc.

Should I use protein powders and shakes?

Protein powders are great options for those looking for a pre-workout boost. Protein helps to build and repair muscle, but it can also help to reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin cell growth.

There are several studies that have suggested there may be a link between whey protein supplements and acne development, but there's no strong evidence to suggest whey protein causes acne. Be sure to choose a protein powder that doesn't contain any dairy or soy.

Another option is to make your own protein shakes using dairy-free milk or water and some protein powder.

Learn More - Pre-Workout Vs Protein Powder – Which Is Better?

Does working out cause acne?

The reality is that there isn't a clear answer. While some research suggests that exercise can worsen acne, other studies have found that it can actually help to improve the skin.

It's possible that the effects of exercise on acne may vary from person to person. Some people may find that their skin breaks out when they work out, while others may not notice any difference.

If you're concerned about exercise causing acne, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk.

Make sure to clean your face before and after working out, and avoid touching your face during your workout.

Does C4 pre-workouts cause acne?

If you regularly hit the gym, chances are you've seen (or even tried) C4 pre-workouts. Some users have reported an unexpected side effect: acne.

While the exact cause of this phenomenon is not yet known, it is believed that the combination of caffeine and other ingredients in C4 pre-workouts can cause a spike in hormone levels, leading to an increase in sebum production and clogged pores.

Additionally, scientific evidence suggests that sucralose - an ingredient in this product and a lot of other pre-workouts is thought to cause acne.

Learn More - Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout: Is It Good For You?

Can I still use pre-workout if I have acne?

If you're struggling with acne, you might be wondering if pre-workout supplements are off-limits.

It's important to remember that not all pre-workouts are created equal. While some do contain questionable ingredients that could potentially aggravate acne, others are relatively simple and natural.

If you're concerned about the potential effects of pre-workout supplements on your skin, it might be worth trying natural alternatives. For example, a cup of coffee or a banana can provide a similar boost of energy without the added ingredients.

Alternatively, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and can help to sustain your energy levels during a workout.

The best way to determine what works for you is to experiment with different options and see how your skin reacts.

Learn More - 5 Pre-Workout Alternatives You Should Try

Does Lit pre-workout cause acne?

Like C4 pre-workout, Lit pre-workouts can boost acne levels. It is thought that this specific pre-workout increases testosterone levels, leading to increased sebum production that clogs pores.

However, not everyone has the same results when using it during their exercise routine.

See Also - Beyond Raw Lit AF Pre-Workout Review 


Pre-workout drinks, pre-workout powders, pre-workout supplements, shakes, whey shakes, and other supplements can all boost your spirits, improve your physical performance, and help you reach your fitness goals, but should be used with caution if you are prone to acne.

Pre-workout has many health benefits, but if you want clear skin, taking pre-workouts may not be best for you.

Various pre-workouts are linked to acne, so it’s important to do your research, check the ingredients, and follow the tips above to reduce acne triggers.





Last Updated on January 21, 2023