Does Pre-workout Cause Acne?

Does Pre-workout Cause Acne?

Does Pre-workout cause acne?

If you’ve been in the workout scene for a while, you must have heard of pre-workout supplements. It boosts your energy levels during workout and gives you more strength and endurance to help you go the extra mile during your workout.

However, let’s talk about your skin health. This begs the question, can pre-workout cause acne? There’s been a debate going on for a while about how pre-workout might cause acne breakouts, much like creatine

Acne breakouts have a variety of causes depending on the type of skin and lifestyle a person is leading. This makes it hard to ascertain if it really is the pre-workout supplements causing the breakouts or not. 

As of now, there are no definitive answers but nonetheless, knowing the ingredients could also help you check which ones are linked to acne.

What you should look out for in Pre-workout

To determine whether or not pre-workout does cause breakouts, we need to check the ingredients. There are some common ingredients in pre-workout supplements that have been linked to acne and you should look out for when buying.

So what ingredients in pre-workout could cause acne?

Whey Protein

strong men with whey protein on hand

Whey protein is found in dairy product and one of the ingredients of pre-workout supplements include cow’s milk. Since it has high levels of amino acids, this fuels your body during your workout session and also helps you recover after your workout.

According to Healthline, say dairy products contribute to acne development but because they’re only observational and very reliant on the subjects’ own reports, it’s hard to tell for sure if dairy does indeed cause acne. The same goes for whey protein since it is in the milk ingredient.

Although in some cases, other people might be more prone to breakouts when consuming dairy products because of their genetics and family history. 


Caffeine is often added in pre-workout supplements to increase energy and focus. However, as a side effect, caffeine also heightens your body’s stress response. Although stress doesn’t cause breakouts, it can make those you already have worse. Additionally, caffeine also keeps you awake which could lead to sleep deprivation. 

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

At first glance it may seem like artificial sweeteners are the healthier alternative to sugars but the truth is, they might be a big contributor to your acne breakouts. 

The main ingredient used in artificial sweeteners include sucralose and according to Healthline, although it hasn’t been proven 100%, research has turned up conflicting results regarding the risks of sucralose causing cancer and disrupting your gut’s microbiome. It isn’t conclusive but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

To add, artificial sweeteners don’t have actual biological purpose which means your body will naturally excrete the artificial sweeteners either through urine or sweat. When artificial sweeteners get excreted through sweat, the sweat irritates and can lead to acne breakouts.

Instead, you can opt for natural sugars like honey since our body can digest it and they shouldn’t cause an issue.


Not all natural sugars are good too. Simple sugars, commonly used in a lot of sweet desserts area also bad for your skin. Studies show that high blood sugar levels can cause inflammations throughout your body. As a result, your body will produce more sebum and we all now what that leads to: more acne!

What to look for in Pre-workout

You can’t go wrong when you go organic. Natural supplements like beet and pomegranate extracts can provide your body with the much needed boost for that extra mile during your workout.

Sweet potatoes also go a long way in getting clear skin. Because it has vitamins C and E, as well as antioxidants, it can cleanse your skin and give you a more healthy complexion. You can even turn it into a drink or eat it directly.

If you need an alternative for your coffee, sweet potato can also do the trick. But if that isn’t to your taste, you can try sugar-free black coffee or decaffeinated coffee. As long as there isn’t too much caffeine or sugars, you should be fine.

How to Get Rid of Acne

man in front of washbasin

If you’re suffering from acne while taking pre-workout supplements, fret not. There are multiple ways to get rid of that stubborn acne including home remedies and simple additions to your daily routine.

1. Use Milk Thistle Supplement

Milk thistle has historically been a great treatment for a lot of ailments and that includes skin-related ones like acne and other skin conditions. One of its components, silymarin, is an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation in your body. That makes your skin less prone to inflammation and acne breakouts.

2. Avoid Warm Showers After Workout

You might be tempted to take a warm relaxing shower right after an intense workout but the warm showers are, in fact, a big no-no right after a workout. When you take a warm shower, the natural oils on your skin will be stripped off which then makes your body produce more sebum.

Instead, cool down and rest for a while after your workout then opt for a mildly cold shower to help close your pores and reduce any inflammation. On top of that, your body’s sebum production can be regulated which reduces the chances of an acne breakout a lot.

As a bonus, cold showers also boost your immune system by producing more white blood cells which can help fight off any bad bacteria on your skin, further reducing the chances of getting acne breakouts.

3. Use Fish Oil Supplement

Not all fats are bad. Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory. This will help reduce inflammation on your skin after your workout so that you can minimize acne breakouts. 

4. Wear Sunscreen Regularly

You might be overlooking the benefits of applying sunscreen everyday. Sunscreen goes a long way in protecting your skin from the negative effects of UV rays. Even on cloudy days, UV rays can still affect your skin which means sunscreen is still a must.

5. Avoid Unnecessary Stress

Just like how caffeine induces stress which causes acne, you should also avoid other stressors or at least try to minimize the stress in your life. Stress triggers a lot of hormones and could lead to hormonal imbalance. This, in turn, increases sebum production and inflammation greatly increasing the chances of acne breakouts.

Now, of course stress is not completely avoidable so the best way is to find ways to destress instead of trying to avoid stress.

6. Change out of sweaty clothes regularly

When you sweat a lot during workout, your shirt can trap all the sweat and bacteria on your skin. This will leave your skin irritated and very prone to acne breakouts. Make sure to change out of clean clothes every after a workout session.

7. Have a skincare routine

man washing face

Adding skincare to your daily routine can do wonders not only to get rid of acne, but also to your overall skin health. A simple few step skincare routine should do the trick: 1) Cleanser, 2) Toner, 3) Anti-acne serum, and 4) Moisturizer.

There are a lot of options in the market when it comes to skincare but I personally like using the Mantisfy Anti-Acne and Repairing Serum. It has worked wonders for my skin and has reduced my acne a lot.

This serum uses high-quality ingredients, Salicornia and Edelweiss, which both combats acne and hydrates your skin. Salicornia promotes cell cohesion and skin hydration which will make your skin look young and healthy while Edelweiss has antibacterial properties which can fight off bacteria, as well as cell repairing properties that can get rid of stubborn acne scars.

Wrapping Up

To sum it up, pre-workout supplements contain a variety of ingredients and some common ingredients like caffeine and artificial sweeteners can be the cause for your acne breakouts. 

Working out shouldn’t be stressful and even more so, post-workout. Using pre-workout supplements for that extra boost is normal but if you think it’s causing acne, you can try more organic alternatives and even adding a skincare routine for men. You’ll still get your needed boost for your workout without the stress from acne breakouts.

These lifestyle changes won’t only benefit your skin but also allow your body to regulate more naturally and maintain a proper balance of substances. You’ll find you might not only get clear skin but even a better workout session.

Acne is a common struggle and has a lot of factors that may trigger it so before concluding on one reason, try and check other factors too. Other things like Adderall could be what’s causing your acne.

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