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Can You Get Back Acne From Working Out? (HINT: It Depends)

When you hit the gym, you're pushing your body to its limits, not just to gain muscle but to achieve overall well-being. However, sometimes, this pursuit can lead to unexpected guests: acne breakouts on the back, often referred to as "bacne."

It's a common question among fitness enthusiasts – can you get back acne from working out? The answer isn't straightforward. Several factors contribute to those pesky pimples popping up post-workout. Let's embark on a journey to uncover the link between sweating it out and the state of your skin.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Effective skincare routines, including post-workout cleansing and using non-comedogenic products, are essential to prevent breakouts caused by sweat and bacteria.
  • Choosing the right workout attire, such as moisture-wicking clothes, and keeping workout equipment clean can greatly reduce the risk of developing body acne.
  • Managing internal factors like blood flow and external factors such as the cleanliness of the skin can help maintain clear skin and reduce workout-related acne.
  • Exposed Skin Care provides a comprehensive approach to treating and preventing acne, especially acne on the back, by targeting the condition at its root with a blend of scientific and natural ingredients.

Back of a person working out in a gym

Understanding Back Acne: It's More Than Just Pimples

Before diving into how workouts may lead to back acne, it's crucial to understand what this type of acne is. Back acne, like facial acne, manifests when pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and other debris. This can result in:

  • Whiteheads (closed clogged pores)
  • Blackheads (open clogged pores)
  • Pimples (pustules, which are papules with pus at their tips)
  • Cysts (deep, painful, pus-filled lumps)

Each represents a different type of acne that can appear on your back, and knowing which you're dealing with can guide you toward the best approach to treatment.

The Workout and Back Acne Conundrum

The link between fitness routines and back acne is not merely coincidental. Several factors during a workout can pave the way for an acne breakout, turning your path to health into a bumpy road – literally.

Sweat: Not Always Sweet for Your Skin

As you engage in a good sweat session, your body is not just releasing toxins but also creating an environment that might foster the growth of acne-causing bacteria. Here's why sweat can be a nemesis for clear skin:

  • Sweat mixed with bacteria: When sweat mixes with the natural bacteria on your skin, it creates an ideal breeding ground for more bacteria to flourish.
  • Trapped sweat: Sweat and bacteria get trapped against the skin, especially under tight workout clothes, leading to clogged pores and breakouts.

Woman with sweaty back with grey shirt

  • Irritation from sweat: Letting sweat sit on the skin can irritate and break down the natural barrier, making the skin more vulnerable to acne.

Workout Gear: The Hidden Culprit

The clothes you wear and the equipment you use will help your workout but might not help your skin. Here are a few ways how:

  • Non-breathable fabrics: Workout clothes made from fabrics like cotton that don't wick moisture away can hold sweat against the skin, clogging pores.
  • Dirty equipment: Exercise equipment can harbor bacteria, which can find their way onto your skin, leading to acne.
  • Tight clothing: Compression gear is excellent for muscle support but not so much for your skin, as tight clothing can cause breakouts by trapping sweat and bacteria.

Post-Workout Routine: A Make or Break for Skin

What you do after you hit the gym is just as important as the workout itself. Here's how your post-exercise actions can impact back acne:

  • Using the wrong cleanser: Not all cleansers are created equal. A cleanser containing salicylic acid is key to help remove excess oil and dead cells, preventing clogged pores.
  • Delayed showers: Waiting too long to shower and change out of sweaty clothes can lead to an overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria on the skin.

Man showering with his back shown

Preventing Back Acne from Working Out: Strategies That Work

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to acne. Here are several effective strategies to prevent back acne from working out:

  • Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics: Choose workout clothes to pull sweat away from your skin.
  • Use a clean towel: Always use a clean towel during your workout to wipe off excess sweat. This will help prevent the transfer of oil and bacteria back onto your skin.
  • Shower immediately: A quick rinse after a workout helps remove excess sweat and bacteria before they can clog your pores.
  • Exfoliate regularly: Use a body wash or cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to keep your skin free of dead skin cells and bacteria.
  • Change out of sweaty clothes: Don't lounge around in your gym clothes. Shower and change into clean, loose clothing as soon as possible.
  • Clean your workout gear: Regularly washing your exercise equipment and mats will reduce the transfer of bacteria to your skin.

Man cleaning barbells using alcohol and towel

  • Avoid heavy backpacks: Heavy bags can cause friction and sweat, leading to breakouts. Opt for lighter, more breathable options when you can.
  • Use non-comedogenic products: From sunscreen to body lotion, make sure the products you apply are oil-free and won't clog your pores.

Choosing the Right Skincare Products

Keeping your skin clean and free from breakouts starts with the right skincare regimen. Look for products that contain acne-fighting ingredients like:

  • Salicylic acid: Helps to dissolve dead skin cells and excess oil.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: Known for its ability to kill acne-causing bacteria.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): Assist in removing dead cells and help prevent clogged pores.

Remember, it's not just about the active ingredients but also about how you use these products. Consistent and correct usage is key to seeing clearer skin.

Managing Acne with Exposed Skin Care

Exposed Skin Care products can significantly benefit those struggling with workout-related acne, especially common skin conditions like acne on the back. Incorporating Exposed Skin Care into your routine can prevent breakouts and treat acne more effectively than other products.

Exposed Skin Care Body Acne Kit

The benefits of Exposed Skin Care are:

  • Targeted Treatment: The Exposed Treatment Serum is specifically designed to not only treat acne but also prevent new pimples from forming by penetrating deep into the pores where body acne originates.
  • Reduce Inflammation: Ingredients in Exposed products, such as the Clearing Tonic, work to reduce inflammation, which can make acne worse by irritating the skin further.
  • Control Bacteria and Oil: The Facial Cleanser helps eliminate bacteria and oil that can accumulate on the skin's surface during workouts, which are common factors that cause acne.
  • Enhance Exfoliation: Using the Derm-X Cloth from Exposed Skin Care can go a long way in removing dead skin cells that may block pores and cause acne, particularly after your skin produces excess sweat and oil from a vigorous workout.
  • Harmonize Skin Health: The Probiotic Complex may help balance internal factors that lead to external issues like acne by targeting the bacteria that can cause acne within the follicle.
  • Maintain Cleanliness: A clean workout routine, including washing your face before and after exercise, combined with Exposed Skin Care's non-comedogenic products, prevents sweat and oil from building up and causing breakouts.

The consistent use of Exposed Skin Care products can aid in maintaining clear skin. By addressing the common skin condition at its source, it offers a robust solution to keep your skin as fit as your body.


Navigating the complexities of workout-related acne can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can prevent breakouts and maintain clear, healthy skin. Increasing blood flow through exercise is beneficial, but it's also essential to manage the sweat and oil that a good workout produces.

The common skin condition of acne, especially acne on the back, requires diligence and consistency in skincare routines to ensure that the skin remains clear and that exercise does not make acne worse.

Regular cleansing, particularly washing your face before and after a workout, can help keep the skin's surface free from bacteria and oil that clog pores and cause acne.

Implementing a clean workout routine, including using clean towels and gear, can go a long way in preventing the build-up of acne-causing elements. Moreover, gentle yet effective products can treat acne without irritating the skin, which is crucial for those with acne-prone skin.

Balanced care that addresses the factors that cause acne, such as bacteria within the follicle and excess oil production by the body, can help reduce inflammation and prevent the pimples that appear post-exercise.

Combining these practical tips with the targeted, high-quality formulations from Exposed Skin Care can effectively treat and prevent body acne, allowing you to focus on your fitness goals while maintaining the skin you feel confident in.


Can working out cause back acne?

Yes, working out can contribute to back acne due to the accumulation of sweat and bacteria on the skin, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

What type of acne is most commonly caused by exercise?

Exercise most commonly exacerbates a type of acne known as acne mechanica, which is triggered by excess heat, pressure, friction, or rubbing of the skin.

How does sweat from working out make acne worse?

Sweat can mix with bacteria and oil on the skin's surface, leading to clogged pores. If not cleansed properly, this can make acne worse.

Are there specific ways to prevent acne caused by working out?

Yes, wearing moisture-wicking fabrics, showering immediately after exercising, using oil-free cleansers, and ensuring all workout equipment is clean can help prevent breakouts.

What should I do if I have acne-prone skin and want to hit the gym?

Keep your skin clean, avoid wearing makeup during workouts, and choose the right skincare products to treat and prevent acne without irritating the skin.

Can increased blood flow from exercise help with treating acne?

Increased blood flow can help by delivering more oxygen to the skin and aiding in the healing process, but it must be coupled with appropriate skin care to prevent breakouts.

What about Exposed Skin Care?

Exposed Skin Care offers a range of products that combine scientific and natural ingredients to help treat and prevent acne, which is particularly useful for managing workout-related skin concerns.