The Regimen

Does Exercise Cause Acne?

Women sitting on the floor stretching and doing yoga 

Exercise is healthy, right? It increases your circulation, releases feel-good endorphins, burns fat, and builds muscle, among other benefits. So why does it seem like your breakouts get worse when you’re regularly working out? Shouldn’t all that toxin-blasting, stress-relieving activity be good for your skin? It should. And it is. However, the correlation between exercise and acne is not your imagination. How can both things be true? Is it because life is full of cruel paradoxes? Partly. But it has far more to do with things you’re doing, or not doing, surrounding your workout. Here’s the story.

When you exercise, you increase blood flow, which means more oxygen and nutrients make their way to skin cells. At the same time, the increased blood flow helps to flush out waste products including free radicals. One of the ways it flushes out waste is through sweat. Sweat is a good thing. But when things like dirt, oil, or sunscreen are added to the mix, you can get clogged pores and breakouts.

Tight workout clothing, hats, headbands, or your bicycle helmet can trap these elements against your skin magnifying the issue in areas like your back or forehead. Those items can also cause irritation from friction. 


What can you do to avoid the post-workout breakout?

Remove makeup before you work out.

Wash your workout clothes after every wearing. Dead skin cells, oils, and bacteria on unwashed clothes may contribute to clogged pores and breakouts.

Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen for outdoor workouts. You’ll get critical protection from UV exposure and avoid UV-induced inflammation, which exacerbates acne. 

Use a clean towel to wipe sweat from your skin during workouts. And be sure to use a different towel to wipe down sweaty equipment!

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests you avoid sharing protective equipment like helmets and shoulder pads whenever possible. These can be full of acne-causing bacteria and oil, which may cause you to breakout.


What does Vivant Recommend?

Shower immediately after your workout with Vivant’s Mandelic acid 3-In-1 Exfoliating Cleanser. Cell-regenerating, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties make mandelic acid ideal for clearing and controlling breakouts, especially after a workout. This physically exfoliating scrub is a great way to clear away dead skin cells, oil, dirt, sunscreen, and bacteria after a sweaty workout. For sensitive skin, opt for Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Wash. It’s the same multi-tasking formula without the micro-beads. You can use either over all acne-prone areas—chest, arms, back—not just the face.

Daily Repair Pads are the perfect take-along toner for your workout regimen. Textured, single-use pads give you the optimum swipe of pore-flushing salicylic acid, anti-fungal mandelic acid, plus healing and repairing ingredients like niacinamide, zinc peptides, and lactic acid.

For lightweight, non-greasy UV protection that won’t clog pores, Day Treatment Lotion SPF 15 is all the muscle you need. You can also mix it with a little mineral powder to create a sheer foundation for post-workout if desired.

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