I just got on an exercise kick and joined a gym. I've been doing 30 minutes of cardio three times a week and finishing with 30 minutes of strength training and stretching. I feel amazing and am starting to lose weight, but now I have a new problem — acne. And it's not just on my face. I have it on my neck and back too. How can I prevent this?
— Blemished Back
Acne and bacne can be unfortunate side effects of exercise, especially in hot weather. There are definitely ways to prevent breakouts caused by sweating.
- Wash your face before working out to remove excess oil and makeup that can clog your pores. Then apply a facial moisturizer that's made for acne-prone skin such as Neutrogena's Oil-Free Anti-Acne Moisturizer.
- Always wear clean workout clothes, and choose sports bras and tank tops with shoulder straps rather than racerback style. You want the skin on your back to breathe as much as possible, and if there's material covering it, heat, sweat, and bacteria get trapped, which can lead to bacne. Also, the more your skin is covered, the hotter you'll feel, and the more you'll sweat, which also leads to breakouts.
- Wear clothes made of wicking material that pulls sweat off the skin.
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- After cardio, wash your face before you strength train and stretch. Also dry the rest of your body off. You can even change into a dry bra and top if you're especially prone to bacne.
- Shower immediately after you're done exercising. Not only does it rinse the sweat and pimple-causing bacteria off your skin, but the water also helps to cool your body temperature down so you don't continue sweating once you get out. Don't have time to shower? Definitely wash your face and put on clean, dry clothes.
- Unclog pores and remove dead skins cells from your skin by exfoliating in the shower with loofah gloves. They're gentle enough to use everyday on your face and the rest of your body. Use the gloves with an antibacterial cleanser such as Cetaphil, or soaps that have acne medicine in them, such as salicylic acid.
Whatever you do, don't stop working out. If acne is still a problem after trying out these tips, see a dermatologist.