Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne?

Nutrition Coach Advises On Preventing Breakouts

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: August 7, 2022

If you get breakouts after the gym, you might wonder if pre-workout causes acne. In this article, I explain what the research says about supplements and acne.

Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne

Nobody likes getting the unsightly pimples associated with acne. To make matters worse, you probably don’t know what the cause of your breakouts is.

Some suggest that pre-workout supplements cause ance or aggravate existing pimples. And you might even notice a flare-up when you take pre-workout and exercise frequently.

But does pre-workout cause acne? Or is that a myth? Read on to learn more about pre-workout supplements and acne.

What Causes Acne?

Acne occurs when the pores of your skin get blocked by oil, skin cells, or dirt. These blockages can result in a clogged pore where bacteria grows and causes a pimple.

One or more skin conditions can contribute to acne. For example, acne may occur when:

  • Hair follicles produce excess oil
  • Dead skin cells build up in your pores
  • Bacteria accumulates in your pores

Unfortunately, experts still don’t know exactly what leads to these skin conditions. Or why certain people are more prone to acne than others.

But several risk factors could increase your chances of acne.

  • High levels of testosterone
  • High levels of cortisol
  • Beauty products with high oil content
  • Certain medications
  • Poor sleep
  • Naturally oily hair/skin or family history of acne

Another potential cause of acne is clothing or objects repeatedly rubbing against your skin, especially if this occurs during hot and humid conditions.

There is also speculation that your diet could be a cause of acne. And this idea could hold water since nutrition affects your hormone balance and overall health.

Related – Insulin: Your Body’s Most Powerful Hormone

Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne Hormones

Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne?

There are no clinical studies directly linking pre-workout supplements to an increased risk of acne. Instead, it’s more likely that the physical effects of working out, such as increased sweat, oil, and bacteria on the skin, contribute to acne.

That said, acne may worsen after starting a pre-workout supplement. If this happens, it could be related to a specific ingredient in your pre-workout.

Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne Pin

What In Pre-Workout Could Cause Acne?

Pre-workout supplements come in drastically varied formulations. And it’s critical to look at the label and know what you’re putting in your body.

Two things most pre-workouts have in common are caffeine and sugar alcohol. So let’s discuss whether these ingredients could cause acne.


Caffeine and other stimulants boost energy and activate the sympathetic nervous system, raising a stress hormone called cortisol. Furthermore, increased stress can contribute to skin conditions that cause acne.

While no studies suggest caffeine directly causes acne, it probably doesn’t help. So if you notice your skin looks worse after pre-workout, choose a formulation with less caffeine. Or opt for one without stimulants (stim-free).

Sugar Alcohols

Supplement companies commonly use sugar alcohols like sucralose to make pre-workout taste good. While these alcohols don’t contain calories, they can alter hormone levels which affect your skin’s condition.

There are no studies linking sugar alcohols to acne. But if you get a breakout after using pre-workout, this is one ingredient to consider avoiding.

Related – Do Sugar Alcohols Count for Net Carbs?

Pre-Workout That Doesn’t Cause Acne

The best way to reduce the chances of pre-workout causing acne is by choosing a brand with fewer ingredients and no additives. You can also try reducing your caffeine intake to see if that helps.

I recommend Naked Energy pre-workout because it only has ten simple ingredients with no additives or artificial sweeteners. They also offer a stim-free version if you think stress contributes to your acne.

Pre-Workout That Doesn't Cause Acne

Pre-Workout Acne FAQ

At this point, you have a better idea about pre-workout supplements and acne. But you may have more questions about why you notice more pimples when you exercise.

So here are some quick answers to common questions about acne and working out.

Does pre-workout affect your skin?

Some pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that trigger specific skin reactions. For example, high doses of niacin (vitamin B3) can cause flushed skin, which is a red hue accompanied by a burning sensation.

In addition, large doses of beta-alanine can make your skin feel itchy or tingly. It’s possible that certain pre-workouts could also aggravate acne, but this side effect is not as immediate or direct as the flushing and tingling.

Why do I get pimples when I work out?

One of the biggest reasons you get acne from working out is the increased oil, sweat, and bacteria on your skin. These substances build up in your pores and create the irritating bumps we call pimples.

Other workout-related factors may also contribute to acne, such as changes in hormones and a lack of sleep necessary to recover.

How do I stop acne from working out?

Changing your pre-workout supplement might help your acne. But focusing on overall health instead of adding or eliminating one thing will impact your skin the most.

Taking care of your skin from the inside and outside of your body is essential. That means practicing good nutrition and personal hygiene.

Here are some tips for healthier skin:

  • Eat more healthy, whole foods and reduce the junk food
  • Get more quality sleep
  • Clean off dirty gym equipment before using it to reduce exposure to skin bacteria
  • Remove sweaty gym clothes after your workout
  • Take a shower after your workout to remove dead skin, excess oil, and bacteria

Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Tingle?

Acne is a possible yet uncommon side effect of pre-workout. Whereas tingling or itching skin is a condition many people are familiar with after taking a pre-workout.

So what is it about pre-workout supplements that make you tingle? And how do you prevent this uncomfortable side effect? Click below to find out!

Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Itch & Tingle?

Now you know whether your pre-workout could be causing acne breakouts. And you learned how to keep your skin healthy while working out. If you found this article helpful, check out some of my other informative content below!

Share with your community and get the conversation started!

Go to Top