Can athletic activity make acne worse?

I am a 17 year old girl, and was wondering,Will playing winter soccer cause my already acne prone skin to break out even more ? I've visited two different dermatologist which did not exactly help my acne. I use the acne treatment from Clinic, and am afraid of the large amount of sweat that gets stuck with dirt by the wind with practice, as well as on game days.

It depends a little on where the acne is. Sometimes back and chest acne seem to get worse with the occlusion by tight sports bras and t-shirts, but in general, exercise and sweating don’t make acne worse. Dirt and wind on the face with sweat, won’t make it worse but don’t rub it into your face. Acne is caused ultimately by hormones which affect oil flow, pore plugging, inflammation, bacteria and cyst formation.


It’s better to put some moist towlettes or a small towel or washcloth (get it wet with water) in your athletic bag and gently clean off your face. You’ll wipe your sunscreen off too but it’s probably mostly gone with all the sweating. If you’re really oily and acne prone, buy a small container of acne wipes and use them at the break.


Happy holidays!  Dr. I


Read Dr. Irwin’s article Acne in Depth.


Learn about what are the best skin care products recommended by dermatologists for acne.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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